Denver Decides 2019 _ Candidate Forum At-Large

Denver Decides 2019 _ Candidate Forum At-Large

hello I’m Wendy Brockman welcome to
Denver decides Denver decides as a Community Partnership dedicated to
accessible and transparent elections the partnership includes the League of Women
Voters in Denver in her neighborhood cooperation historic Denver and is
presented by Denver eight TV the forum is also sponsored by the Alamo Placida
Neighborhood Association Capitol Hill United neighborhoods the Golden Triangle
creative district and uptown on the hill we also want to thank the staff and
management at the Denver Art Museum for their assistance and cooperation this
forum is taking place at the sharp auditorium here at the Denver Art Museum
today we are presenting a candidate forum in anticipation of the municipal
election coming up on Tuesday May 7th among other offices this election
includes the candidates vying to represent the city as one of two
at-large members of Denver’s City Council the at-large members of Denver
City Council represent the entire city of Denver our format is a pretty
standard one the candidates will have timed opening and closing statements
that will be followed by rounds of questions that have been submitted by
the organizers and sponsors of the forum since we have a time limit we may not
get to all of those questions but the ones we ask have to be answered by all
of the candidates and all the responses will be timed our timers are out front
so candidates can see how they’re doing on time
all right so let’s begin by meeting two candidates vying to represent you as one
of two city council at-large members the candidates are seated left to right
facing the audience in order that their names will appear on the May ballot so
beginning at my right is Jesse LaShawn Paris seated next to him is Johnny Hayes
then we have Debra Ortega Tony Pigford Lynn Landon Lin Lang didn’t I beg your
pardon and Robert Robin can each welcome to the
candidates forum everyone let’s welcome them we will begin with one-minute opening
statements from each of the six candidates and will proceed in ballot
order with these statements so once again starting on my right we’re gonna
begin with Jesse LaShawn Paris okay good evening my name is Jesse Paris I’m
representing for Black Starks movement for self defense
Denver homeless out loud and positive action commitment for social change I’m
a long-term Denver native I’ve been a native of Denver for the past 30 years
I’ve lived in the northeast section of Denver majority of that time and I’m
with to consider community activists I do a lot of work in the community
especially around the homeless and black and brown communities Thank You Jessi
LaShawn oh okay I’m sorry I’m out of order here let’s hear from Johnny haste
hi everybody my name is Johnny Hayes I am a father of two wonderful children I
am an historian if you couldn’t tell by looking at my face I’m a volunteer in my
community I have a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York I work in the
arts and film and music industry as a writer director painter and musician I
am an advocate for the deaf community I would like to see the the bridging of
the hearing community and the deaf community brought to the city of Denver
that’s very important to me the homeless crisis is another very
important issue to me I would like to encourage the arts I’m very happy we’re
here at the Art Museum doing this forum right now I’d like to encourage the film
industry to thrive in Denver I’m a creative thinker and I’m thinking of
creative solutions to solve a lot of Denver’s problems here so thank you very
much for being here and thank you for having us and now a one minute opening
statement from Deborah Ortega good evening I first want to thank all of our
district 10 rnos Lea women voters i NC historic Denver and Denver decides
channel 8 for hosting this tonight I have dedicated my adult life in
the people of Denver I’m committed to a fair and equitable Denver that
prioritizes the delivery of our city services before adding new programs to
our city budget and obviously the need for affordable housing is also very
important to making sure that we have different price points of housing that
don’t exist in our market today for many people who are struggling to live in our
city council must continue to thoroughly review the issues that come before us
and not be seen as rubber-stamping the issues that are oftentimes brought
before us by the administration I will continue to listen advocate collaborate
to protect your time is that mister take I apologize thank you a one minute
opening statement now from Tony pigfoot good evening I’m grateful to be here
thanks to everyone who helped put this forum on my name is Tony Pickford I’m a
fourth generation Denver right and a third generation product of Denver
Public Schools I come from a long line of educators entrepreneurs and social
justice champions for the last 100 years me and my family have been working hard
to shape our city for the last decade I’ve worked in the youth leadership
development and education space I’m the founding dean of students at the only
all-boys public middle school in the region I’m running for Denver City
Council at large because we need a new brand of leadership in Denver we need
proactive leaders that will have a sense of urgency that will treat our crisis
level issues as emergencies and also we need leaders that have a sense of
possibility because we have the opportunity to make Denver the most
vibrant sustainable and just city in the nation my name is Tony Pickford and I
hope to be one of your next Denver City at-large representatives thank you so
much next let’s hear from Lynn Langdon hi everyone I’m so excited to be here
tonight I’m from Colorado and the majority of my family lives in Colorado
I am passionate too and excited to serve Denver residents and to see that we move
into a bright solid future as a city I’ve worked internationally and
interculturally in major cities around the world I’ve held positions and
received awards for my leader ship abilities and my optimism and all
of these things have provided me with a vast experience of being able to work
productively with large groups of people who have different priorities beliefs
and backgrounds towards common goals my strengths lie in my ability to connect
with people to hear and validate your concerns and in knowing how to motivate
individuals towards productive and proactive change I’m not afraid to stand
up against the status quo and/or initiate action new action and
out-of-the-box thinking when called for thank you so much and now an opening
statement from Robin can each thank you I’m Robin can each and it’s been my
honor to be your partner and champion as your Councilwoman I live up in Northeast
Park Hill with my wife and my son who turned 10 yesterday I began my career
working on behalf of those women being empowered from violence and other
backgrounds and then I continued my work with community coalition’s working to
ensure that growth had a conscience with jobs affordable housing and
environmental standards as I your Councilwoman I led the creation of the
first-ever fee on development to fund thousands of affordable homes across the
city along with other funding sources and I’ve sponsored other policies that
are helping thousands more families stay in their homes and neighborhoods the
collaboration with the communities that are impacted most is at the core of my
work whether it’s working to transform a brownfield into an open space in global
weather it’s working to ensure that more immigrant and LGBTQ families feel safe
in our city or giving 8,000 service workers a raise I’m running for
re-election thank you Miss Kim each I’m sorry to cut you off in yourself now the
first of our submitted questions for the candidates each candidate will have one
minute to answer and we’re going to start in reverse order from the opening
statement so we’re going to begin with Robin can each here’s the first question
what might you say to developers who propose projects that could bring in
significant short-term money but might not align with the long-term vision and
needs of the city well I have said no on several occasions
and I can give you several examples the 41st and Foxx area where i-25 and i-70
meet is proposed for a major redevelopment and the developer who
proposed that site entered into negotiations with the city over a
housing agreement that had them paying more than the standard fee but did not
guarantee the creation of any housing on the site the plan made no less than 20
references to this site needing to be inclusive to those of all incomes and
when it didn’t include it I voted no in the process of voting no however I
called the attention of the city to the flawed process in which this agreement
was negotiated and the fact that it ignored the plans it created a brand-new
conversation between the housing department and the Community Planning
and Development Department that then in a later development the Elitch project
resulted in a far more inclusive negotiation resulting in 15% affordable
housing on site so I either say provide the equity or my answer’s no same
question for Lynn Langdon I completely agree I have not been serving as the
councilmember so I haven’t had this experience come across my table but I
would definitely say no Toni Pickford can you repeat the question please what
might you say to developers who proposed projects that could bring in significant
short-term money but might not align with the long-term vision and needs of
the city I’d ask them to look for another city to do business in I think
that unfortunately that’s not what’s been asked of them our city has been
sold to the highest bidder that’s what’s been happening we’ve had wealth
extraction and the reason we have you know mass and equity in a broken housing
market is because we haven’t collectively as a city council stood up
to those development interests so I would ask them to look elsewhere I would
work with developers who wanted to bring a long-term not only financial benefit
but a social benefit so they would bring more equity and vibrancy to the city of
Denver thank you same question deborah ortega so I have served on the board of
a non-profit housing organization that has been building
affordable housing in our city for over 35 years and our nonprofits have played
a viable role in making sure that we have housing for people who are
struggling to stay in this city we need to continue to prioritize that but for
developers who are looking to do large developments one of the things that we
no longer do is have City Council play a major role in looking at the details
that we used to and we need to take a step back and look at comprehensive
planning because we have over 500 acres scheduled to come to our city and we
need to make sure that we’re looking at that impact to the adjacent
neighborhoods and that we will be upfront in addressing gentrification and
displacement all right Johnny Hayes you have one minute thank you I think we’re
all looking for long-term solutions to our city’s problems and with development
and the rapid growth arriving here we really want something that’s sustainable
and forward-thinking and in that area so I wouldn’t be in favor of any short-term
developers even if it is profitable to the economy if it has negative or
adverse effect to the Denver community with developing what I would like to see
and like to encourage is more community cooperation within developers we’re a
city that is growing at such a high rate that that we need to improve within our
infrastructures and our housing obviously so for me I would want to make
sure that developers enhance the community that the community has a say
and what’s going to be developed in their neighborhood and how it’s going to
be developed what’s placed there and also get the community involved so that
can create jobs and just it just benefit the communities so for me all right
thank you mr. Hayes same question to Jessi LaShawn Paris Jessi Paris hello I
would stand up to developers and tell them that we need to make sure all
future developments have zero to 30 percent AMI housing I’m running for poor
and disenfranchised communities too been gentrified that have been displaced
and bought out of their neighborhoods we need to literally put a we are not
for sale sign on the city and let these developers know and these companies know
that Denver is not for sale and that you cannot just run amok so that’s what I
would do all right our next question we’re gonna begin with Lynn Langdon
Denver has experienced nearly unprecedented growth and all indications
are that it will continue tell us what Denver should look like in
20 years and how we get there oh I love that question because I actually believe
that we should follow the role model of key side Toronto it’s a smart city
that’s being established they’re implementing so many smart technologies
and green resources and I just really think that we need to look to futuristic
cities like that they’re also by the way you know also
experiencing the issues of low-income housing providing enough and by using a
lot of proven green resources they’re able to get the building cost down for
builders to be able to provide that I just think it’s a very exciting time I
think that we can bring Denver into a really great future thank you
same question now for Toni Pickford thank you there’s some things in the
past that I would like to be sure that we’re there 20 years from now my father
was a small business owner my mother was an educator in Denver Public Schools for
over 30 years and a union member my sister and I was a family of four and
they had access to upward mobility they could afford a home I would like that to
be a component 20 years from now because that’s definitely not an option for a
teacher and a small business owner with two kids they can’t do that I also would
like to see democracy alive 20 years from now our voter turnout is abysmal
Ehlo if we can get up to 30 percent of registered voters to vote that will be
an accomplishment so I would like to be sure that 20 years from now our youth
are leading the way and an activated and participatory
electorate looks like and I hope that we address our sustainability issues now
because we don’t have 20 years we’ve got to be sure that we put people and our
planet before any profit so that our earth and our city is habitable then and
so I plan to take measures that are very bold and Swift regarding climate change
and will accomplish that vision twenty years from now
same question one minute now to answer for Debra Ortega so 20 years from now I
would want to make sure that we continue to be a safe city a city where people
can walk through any of our neighborhoods and that we have walkable
neighborhoods where we’re not riddled with traffic congestion just to move
from one side of town to the other that we have a transportation system that
closes the gap on our first mile and last mile connections and that we’ve got
children in this city who have grown up and can still continue to live in the
city that they grew up in it’s important that we ensure that jobs and livable
wage jobs are an important part of what is available to them as part of them
being able to stay and live in the city that they grew up in Johnny hates thank
you I believe Denver is a very progressive
city and that we could lead the nation in some of our progressive ideas one
thing I’d like to see is Denver be a leader for civil rights for other cities
something that’s important to me as I mentioned earlier is the deaf community
I would like Denver to be the most deaf friendly city in the world by educating
our hearing people about Deaf culture and deaf language and encouraging deaf
friendly businesses and businesses to become deaf friendly for the deaf and
blind community I for Transportation I think we need to think outside of the
box of creative solutions one thing that I look towards is other cities I I know
Mexico City they and I’m not saying that this is what we would do but they added
a cable car system that has had the added effect of the
beautification to their city and it also solves a lot of their traffic problems
so I’m thinking of creative solutions above ground below ground to solve these
sort of problems for Denver thank you all right next person to answer the
question is Jesse LaShawn Paris thank you
20 years from now I would like to see our historically black and brown
communities preserves we have historic districts that we are being in
gentrified and displaced out of I would like to see us be able to remain in our
neighborhoods and our communities and actually be able to thrive my thing is
equity freedom and justice I think that Denver can be a just and progressive
city but we have to let these developers know and these corporations know that we
are no longer for sale and that you cannot just continue to run amok in our
town so that’s one thing and in transportation we can start with stuff
like streetcars we can start with bus rapid transit we can actually start with
an affordable fare on for free bus rides it’s cheaper to take a lift in it is to
take the bus right now and I use public transit on a daily basis so that’s one
of the things I would like to see in the next 20 years Thank You mr. Paris same
question for Robin can each I would look forward to walking through neighborhoods
like Capitol Hill and seeing the historic buildings that have been
preserved churches throughout the city that our landmarks and different
communities are still there and I would love to walk to every street that’s a
major thoroughfare and not have to look at a schedule before the bus arrives and
I want a sidewalk for every bus stop in every neighborhood in the city to get to
that bus stop I want people walking from all backgrounds along our safe sidewalks
children and seniors having access to green space that’s within five minutes
from their home and I want to be able to make sure that we have growth that’s
happening around those transit areas or in major redevelopment areas so that the
core of those neighborhoods and their character is preserved and any new
buildings match the format of the old community whether it’s brick or whether
it’s the setbacks whether it’s the fact that their roofs have a peak instead of
being flat but that the modern architecture is in the places that are
new and that the historic character of our neighborhoods is preserved along
with affordability thank you miss can each all right the next question for our
candidates we’re going to begin with Tony Pickford with respect to the city’s
budget what do you believe are the best investments the city is making now and
what investments or expenses would you like to see end if elected it’s a good
question when I think about the budget the first thing that I think about
regarding should we spend more in a particular area should we spend less is
efficiency just general efficiency I think that we need to look at our budget
and first eliminate waste I don’t think that that’s being necessarily the
approach that we’re taking and so I would accelerate audits of our existing
budget and be sure that we’re using our dollars and being good stewards of our
taxpayer dollars I do think that the fact that we do have started to scratch
the surface as far as an affordable housing fund is something that we
definitely need to continue I look at our budget almost doubling to over 2.3
billion dollars and there hasn’t been much social return so some of the things
that I think that we need to curb or prohibit is some of the crony capitalism
and our government officials working for developers and not the people of Denver
and so that’s something that I would hope would change same question for
deborah ortega so I would continue to prioritize the delivery of basic city
services that taxpayers expect that their tax dollars are paying for
affordable housing is one that we have prioritized and put some resources aside
to help address and basically leverage other dollars that come to the table to
assist development partners in our city both
for-profit and nonprofit and making sure that we are providing affordable housing
that is desperately needed particularly zero to sixty percent of the AMI
we have many working families that also cannot afford to stay in our city and
that is critically important but just balancing our budget is is another
important part of the work that we do in reviewing the budget and making sure
that it’s not just priorities from the administration but also priorities that
have been identified by City Council that come from our communities same
question for Johnny Hayes thank you things that I like is that there there
is money being spent budgeted on the housing if my numbers are correct I
think there’s another 45 million that was added to the 55 million to deal with
the homeless situation and I’m happy that that’s there but there’s always
room for improvements everywhere as far as what I’d like to see I’d like to see
more balance in the in the entire city with with the budgeting of schools I
mean some things are outside of City Council’s duties and whatnot but I’d
like to see the equity equitability and in schools balanced a little bit better
I’m happy that there are funding for the Arts and I would like to see
improvements in that area the film industry is a thriving industry that
wants to be in Denver and I think there are things that we can do doing
encouraged that I would like I’m not in favor of initiatives like such as pay as
you throw I don’t think it next up is Jesse LaShawn Paris thank you I would
echo a lot of what Tony already said I would like to see an audit of our budget
we don’t know exactly where our money is going we have 26 homes we cannot even
account for we have a house in crisis in this town and we have 26 homes we cannot
even account for and we found this out due to auditor’s office so we need to do
better budgeting of our city budget I would
also expand on the affordable housing fund right now is for ten years
three hundred mill I would like to see it go up and I would
like to see us prioritize the needs of the community instead of the developers
and corporations all right Robin can eat your turn every dollar we spend on
helping a person exit homelessness into housing saves other costs to the city
and quality of life hospitalization every dollar we spend on the 37 million
dollars that you all approved for parks helps to clean our air and improve the
quality of life I would keep our investments going into
renewable energy because they lower our energy bills and lower the impact on the
climate from the air quality impacts of large buildings childcare funding we get
an amazing return on investment as women and families are able to work when we
provide support for childcare each of these items is an example of how we get
social capital back we have a hundred admit five million dollar housing fund
focused on those who are lowest that’s a bond that was done by DHA all up front
half of it will be for land for our poorest families that will be an amazing
return on investment because that stability is much cheaper than
homelessness what would I end any subsidies to businesses that pay less
than a living wage I voted against a target subsidy because they where time
is that Miss Caniggia viola Joyce Lin Lang dn’t you’re next so currently I
think the housing budget being increased is definitely a plus you know obviously
I think we need to provide more housing and a mix of housing is always important
and ranges prices and also the plans current plans to you know complete our
sidewalks and our infrastructure and continue to provide that for our city I
think those I’m very happy with those plans the things that I think really
needs to be focused on that have been neglected obviously the homeless
situation and those in our society who need rehabilitation in many different
ways whether it be addiction just falling on hard times it’s something
that I can relate to myself I’ve been in a situation back when the crash the
economy crashed and I was near homelessness so I can
empathize with that and I’d like to establish more rehabilitation centers
that encompass facilities that are all inclusive you miss Langdon I’m gonna
have to cut you off I apologize we’re gonna go to question number four
this is another question from our forum sponsoring organizations and deborah
ortega it is your turn to start what specific policies would you advocate for
to prevent displacement of longtime residents and small businesses as
demographics change and property values increase so this is a particular issue
that I have worked on I encouraged our administration to look at a program that
Seattle has done addressing race inequity so that when we are doing large
or small projects in our city we look at that from a lens of what does that mean
to impacting the traditional neighborhoods that have been you know
historically in the area this is something that is now happening people
in our city have been trained we have over a hundred people who have been
trained to implement a program that is very similar to Seattle’s that is
working on large projects as we’re looking at five hundred acres that will
be coming into the i-25 corridor that will be mostly high-density we will be
addressing displacement and gentrification of the neighborhoods to
the west of that area and this is very important because this ensures that
people can afford to stay in this city with various programs and policies that
will have in place thank you mr. Ortega Johnny Hayes thank you specifically the community involvement I
I want to put in place things like good neighborhood agreements but make them
more effective make them have there be more accountability for those types of
agreements the community should have a say neighborhood organizations should
have a say of what’s being put up in their neighborhood these are the people
who built these neighborhoods who gave them the character put the businesses in
and then attracted these outside developers to want to build their so the
community needs to be able to say this is how we want to develop that I think
we do that through these agreements through any legislation that could
solidify the community’s involvement by offering jobs to people within that
community for that development and being very specific about how that those proff
uture projects move forward and I’d also like to do that with protecting our
businesses to a lot of businesses have closed down and I think we can do
something about thank you mr. Hayes Jesse LaShawn Paris thank you I would
like to see a moratorium on the tax hikes because right now our seniors are
being displaced out of their neighborhoods that they helped built
that they helped create and that they raise their children in so I would like
to see an expansion on the current moratorium that we have on senior tax
hikes that’s one thing another thing would be a creep increase in the
minority business contracts right now it’s very dismal Denver I just did an
article on it and it’s not looking good for minority businesses in this town if
you really want to preserve our diversity in this town we need to
increase the contracts for minority-owned businesses and then my
fingers we need to get rid of the linkage fee or increase the amount of
fee that these developers are paying to opt out of creating affordable units so
that is the three things I would implement when I get into office Thank
You mr. Parris Robin can each you’re up next
thank you three anti displacement policies I’ve already passed an eviction
prevention legal defense fund a property tax rebate that’s been expanded for
low-income seniors and disabled folks and added families with children for the
first time to help them with property taxes and stay in their home and
emergency rental assistance funded through the new fund that I helped to
create in the future I’d like to work on business support that doesn’t just rely
on doing business with the city not every business
business with the city but they need help finding new customer bases they
need legal support and they need assistance with things like dealing with
landlords and rent in in their retail spaces we should be passing new renter
protections pending more permissions from the state legislature and we can
build a resident preference for a portion of units in our new housing to
make sure that folks have a chance to build to live in new housing as it comes
into the neighborhood so they can age in place in their own community next up is
Lynn Langdon okay so I think obviously it would be very important to make sure
that we are implementing the current requirements and making sure that people
are towing the line and additionally I plan on being very accessible to people
and being out in the neighborhoods and that is something that I just feel I
want people to feel like they can come to me and I can hear from people
directly as to what they want and what they desire in their own neighborhoods
so incorporating not just my ideas or developers ideas but obviously the
neighbors and the citizens of Denver is the key Antoni Pigford I think we need a
major shift in resources I’ll give you an example we have a 300 million dollar
affordable housing fund spread out over 10 years city council voted to increase
everyone’s stormwater fee basically it was a stormwater a tax increase
disguised as a fee that raised more than three hundred million dollars for the
Platte to Park Hill stormwater project that’s a problem that’s one example of
why we’ve got mass and equity in a broken housing market so we need to
think about where we’re spending our resources and not prevent those types of
decisions any more businesses we got to be proactive with the engagement I went
on a small business tour and a lot of small minority-owned businesses have no
idea who their City Council people are or what their role is in supporting them
with residents we’ve got to start with our youth education is key
apprenticeship programs we’ve got to grow our own and our youth are the
leaders of today and not tomorrow so we’ve got to support them so that they
can live here for many years and we haven’t really started to use all the
tools that we have to not displaced residents anymore community land Trust’s
are something we haven’t utilized the city is very slow in getting accessory
dwelling units approved citywide and stronger leadership I’m just a
reminder that voters will be electing to council at-large members for this
municipal election all right our next question for our candidates we’re going
to begin with Johnny Hayes please identify what you consider to be the
most significant crime problem in the city and what you propose to combat it so the most specific crime right now I
think is how we are treating our disenfranchised citizens punishing
people for losing their homes for considering that a crime for for being
out on the street and for suffering is something that I see as as criminal to
act this way as far as there was a program initiated that located that was
able to pinpoint and recognize gunshots where they occurred and has a faster
reaction time for the police force to get there that is something that is
obviously an issue in our city and I think we could do more to recognize and
then act on these gun crimes thank you mr. Hayes Jesse LaShawn Paris you’re
next mm-hmm the most significant crime problem in the city is the
criminalization of our hell on house neighbors since 2012 has been illegal
for you to survive on the streets of Denver you could be arrested ticketed or
harassed just for covering yourself with a blanket a tent a tarp or a sleeping
bag I’ve experienced this firsthand because I am the only one up here that
can say that I was homeless under this current urban camping ban so we need to
do away with this urban camping ban we need to vote YES on 300 and if 300
doesn’t pass we need to pass a majority vote to repeal
urban camping ban Thank You Robin can eat you’re up next thank you I’ve heard
many concerns from community members about the homicide rate in Denver and
that serious a lot of that has been driven by domestic violence deaths and
that’s a serious concern we need to attack by supporting women and helping
them have a path out there are actually more suicides and more traffic deaths in
our city than homicides so as a public safety matter we need to be addressing
both of those issues which are a little different than crime but they’re very
much about Public Safety that’s taking lives in our city for traditional crime
property crime continues to be the most widespread in our neighborhoods and that
includes a lot of things that residents can control I myself forget to lock the
garage sometimes right or I leave the car door unlocked when I’m running in to
get my son from school so we need to continually be re-educating our
neighbors about how to keep themselves safe and then we need to look at what’s
driving property crime which is addiction the more we can help people
relieve their addiction by getting either clean if that’s something they’re
able to do through treatment or substituting it with medication for
those on opioids they often need a substitute medication to medically
transition that will help reduce property crime Thank You Lynn Langdon
you’re up next so a couple of my ideas would be a lot
of people who were incarcerated and get released back on the streets they find
it hard to get reestablished into society and many times fall back into
crime so I think that is a percentage that we need to look at and a lot of
that is because when they do reenter society they’re rejected on many levels
one of them being they can’t find a place to rent many landlords won’t rent
to them so I do believe going in and creating rehabilitation for these
individuals and making sure and overseeing that they are assimilated
into society correctly will help I also believe addressing youth centers and
keeping our youth going in the right direction is incredibly important
Tony Pigford you’re up next I think that poverty is the greatest threat to our
security so a lot of crimes that we see in Denver come out of the root cause of
us not dressing poverty our city government is
broken and until we start to address poverty and get people access to upward
mobility we’re gonna continue to see what I see
consider a lot of crimes of desperation I like that the shot spotters were
mentioned earlier that’s the approach our city has taken shot spotters it’s a
very reactive approach I’d like to solve problems before shots are fired versus
being able to get to a location really quickly after they were fired and that’s
gonna take a lot of work with youth leadership development apprenticeship
programs and being sure that our kids have opportunity so that they’re not
picking up guns they’re picking up books lower downtown is a mess down there
where the bar scene it’s absolutely absurd that we’ve let that continue we
need to start talking about staggering the time that bars closed so that all
these folks aren’t coming out of bar is completely drunk and fighting and
stabbing and shooting each other so we need proactive leadership on city
council to address these issues Thank You Deborah Ortega so what are the
issues that I think is criminal is the fact that we have people in our 802 one
six zip code living in the most polluted neighborhoods in the country and the
fact that we’ve had the Asarco lead smelter in that neighborhood that has
impacted that community we now will be widening i-70 that will contribute to
the health problems that exist in those neighborhoods in addition to that you
know the opioid crisis is one that has challenged us with more and more people
being impacted I think some of our issues have been exacerbated with the
legalization of marijuana and the fact that we have more people who have come
here and it has contributed to our homeless population that exists in our
downtown and I think it’s important that we continue to look at how we address
the issue of people who are living outside I did not support our campaign
man sorry all right thank you our next question we’re going to begin
with Jesse LaShawn Paris what do you believe are the benefits of having two
City Council at law positions Denver’s a big city we are 11
districts total so the benefits of having to City Council where large
opposed to one is we can split off certain parts of town that we can focus
on so that way we’re not stressing ourselves out and working ourselves to
the bone on one section to town or certain sections of town we can split it
up and get the community input opposed to just having one person doing all of
this work so the benefits of it is it helps us actually be able to effectively
reach the communities that we are put into office to represent we are
published servants we work for the people that people don’t work for us all
right thank you Robin can eat you’re up next
well I’ve spent an honor to have the experience of doing this with Debbie
Ortega and what I would say is that people serve in different ways some of
us lead with more policy work others do more community-based projects and the
complimentary nature of having those different approaches can really bring
different things to the city but at the same time I’ve always been able to
partner with Councilwoman Ortega and we have worked together for example on
getting apprenticeship training standards into all of our big
construction contracts that you all approved in the bond so that while we
build buildings we’re also building careers so that kind of partnership
allows you to help to sponsor things that District Council members are very
supportive of at times but may not always have the time to lead it takes a
lot of collaboration to work with stakeholders other colleagues and other
council members and I found that the at-large seat allows me the ability to
work on all of that you can’t touch every neighborhood in
the city every single day by personally visiting but using your communication
methods using newsletters having phone calls all our ways that you can
complement each other thank you miss can eat Lin Lang Dhin you’re next
I think obviously having different perspectives beliefs and backgrounds and
coming from those and playing off each other and having checks and
is just always a good thing but in addition obviously being teammates and
working together fabulous so I think that obviously it’s important to be able
to have us be incorporated in city council so we can work together with the
other eleven members but we could also be tiebreakers Thank You Toni Pickford
I’ve asked a lot of people similar question on the campaign trail and the
answer that I’ve gotten is most people don’t know the differentiation between
the at-large seats or the district seats so I think that they’ve been generally
underutilized the benefit of having two is they can work together to build a
coalition on city councils that we can get to seven or nine votes so that we
can have checks and balances I think those two at-large seats are prime for
that I think that the at-large position should work with surrounding
municipalities because a lot of our issues should be approached regionally
and with two you can really work with the surrounding municipalities to
address these issues regionally you would have a blend of two people with
wonderful skill sets so I look forward to you know however this shakes out I’m
working with somebody else in that at-large position to build coalitions so
we have accountability and also work with surrounding municipalities and I
look forward to blending my skill sets with some another amazing at-large
council person Thank You Deborah Ortega District Council members are expected to
work on the projects that are within their districts and their constituents
you know have them on speed dial where where they often call them about not
just growth and development issues but basic things like a stop sign this
at-large council members have the benefit of not only working with
District Council members and the issues that we get calls from within those
neighborhoods but also some of the bigger picture public policy issues I’ve
worked on the mitigation issues on the i-70 project making sure that we’re
taking care of those families that are going to be left in the shadows of the
i-70 project actually will be under now instead of over but you know working to
address various issues like homelessness affordable housing for 8 years I was the
executive director of the Commission to end homelessness and have worked with
many of our providers to address those issues as well thank you Johnny Hayes
thank you so as I mentioned before I’m in a story and I’m specifically a
presidential historian and I think about the birth of this nation and how it was
built on compromise and compromise is not a dirty word
you know we different colonies got together with different representatives
who had different ideas and different needs and to build one solid nation they
decided to compromise not everything was perfect in that but that’s how great
things happen with council at large you’re put into positions where we are
going to be forced to deal with things that are outside of what just
specifically affects us and where we live and having two people to deal with
that is just creates so much more diversity in that I understand that
people may have a first love for who they want as their choice up here but if
you’re it but if you care about things like the promotion of the arts the
encouraging men of the film community to have business here deaf and blind
community civil rights mental health along with dealing with the homeless
situation creative and forward-thinking that I asked you to consider me thank
you before the next round we want to just thank the district 10 neighborhood
groups that are sponsoring this forum along with the Denver des cités partners
they are the Alamo Placida Neighborhood Association Capitol Hill United
neighborhoods the Golden Triangle creative district and Uptown on the hill
thank you guys let’s continue with round seven of questions for the candidates
and for this round we will begin with Robin can each your question describe
what you think are the benefits and or detriments of the rapid population and
construction growth in Denver well the detriments have been that our
infrastructure was behind when it began so we didn’t have the transportation in
place or the land-use planning in place and we didn’t have the equity policies
as strong as we could have we had a lot of legal barriers from the state
legislature that are still making it difficult to require affordability and
till housing and I think that those detriments have been experienced by our
community as a quality of life challenge both from the construction disruption
itself and then for character of their neighborhood where the growth didn’t
match the character I do believe that some of the growing diversity that’s
come to our city in the form of new residents who bring new talents and
passions to the city I live in North look for more than 12 years in North
Denver and I noticed that area that there was certainly people of different
backgrounds moving into a street that previously had been only folks of one
background and I thought that was a positive thing I believe that business
growth is an important piece of the success of the city but it’s not worth
take pursuing against those other factors Lin Lang Dhin well growth in any
aspect is exciting and always change is inevitable so we’re not going to be able
to prohibit that but what we need to really maintain is the small businesses
and protecting them from the competition that moves in and maybe Enza ends up
they’re not able to compete and also making people feel inclusive because we
don’t want our diversity and our citizens to feel like they’re getting
lost within this growth so that’s all it’s very important Tony Pickford I
think the detriments have been mass in equity we’re becoming homogenous there
was just recently some data that Denver is leading the country and pushing out
the Latino community the african-american community is shrinking
and so I’m not seeing the diversity we lacked foresight we saw this growth
coming and we had an opportunity before and leaders have had a chance to really
impact these issues so we don’t have the Mac mass and equity and and lack of
diversity benefits I think would be for the wealthy if you have means and you
are wealthy Denver is a wonderful playground for you unfortunately the
wealth gap is drawn firmly along racial lines and so that’s why you see the
homogenate revoir city and so there’s a lot of work we can do again we need
proactive bold leadership so that we can make this
City help it help it reach its potential thank you
same question for Deborah Ortega so I think the rapid growth has has brought
investment to our city it’s brought some exciting things like Niall Wolfe we have
an amazing creative sector 1.8 billion dollars is what is generated from our
creative sector in Denver Metro community but with that we also have
challenges and the focus on making sure that we are not just scraping homes and
removing affordable housing within the fabric of our residential neighborhoods
and looking at how we protect them is very important to just having the the
part of Denver that people love it’s our neighborhoods and when we start removing
that we lose what is great and beautiful about our city and with that we see
people wanting to leave because they see the changes happening in a way that
makes them no longer feel like it’s their Denver so those are some of the
things that I think are important for us to hone in on Johnny Hayes thank you as
far as the benefits and what diversity has brought here it’s it’s in the
industry within the arts within the film industry within the music industry
especially Denver is an appealing place people like this city that’s why they
want to move here that’s why they want to be here that’s why we all want to
live here so we have there there are certain things that we have kept up and
and progressed with within within the within those industries and other
industries the cost is the displacement people having to move further and
further out from their homes that they grew up in further away from their
community and also those small businesses that have been affected by
that growth by not having any protection that keeps them in business if they’ve
been there for 20 30 40 years some in some cases they can just get driven out
without any assistance and stopping from that from happening so so there’s a
placement of people in the business what’s wrong thank you a next question
or same question rather for Jesse LaShawn Paris Jesse yes so that’s a mr.
rapid growth math mass inequity as Tony already stated gentrification communi
side displacement ethnic cleansing and increase in our homeless in this
population and a lack of diversity benefits wider fluency investment
tourism in industry the city seems to value tourism more than it values people
and my slogan is justice for the poor people over profits all right on to our
next question and Lynn Langdon you will be the first to answer this one what is
your view on the role of Historic Preservation in the future of our city
what are your top two priorities to ensure preservation have historic
buildings and neighborhoods well it’s um it’s incredibly a priority to me because
obviously and I think to all of us I mean I think we’ve all said that
creating and preserving the history of Denver is essential I myself on weekends
and joy and love going to the city park off of it’s near 17th and Colorado and
it’s amazing that just walking around the park and enjoying the outdoors but
experiencing the history as well with the monuments and how we’ve incorporated
some newer museums I just for me it would be a priority to keep all of our
historical incorporation with the newer technologies and the newer buildings and
the newer neighborhoods we cannot let that die because I think everyone enjoys
that Toni Pigford you’re next I think my top two priorities the first one would
be to you know be sure we’re maintaining our historic desert designations in our
neighborhood and maybe come up with a citywide policy around historic
designation because it seems to be very different across the city and then I
also would really focus in on a program where we would
repurpose buildings we’ve got to think about our city and sustainability when
we’re tearing down buildings and then building new ones it’s awful for our
environment and so my second priority would be to really do the research and
dedicate a program to how we repurpose existing buildings versus scraping them
and tearing down new ones because we’ve got to put our environment and
sustainability first Deborah Ortega so the first really big historic project
that I had a chance to work on as the council person of district 9 when I
served as a council district member was the lower downtown historic district I
was able to bring both sides together and come up with a compromise that
ensured that those buildings in our downtown we’re going to be kept intact
and the investment that we made was seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars
of a revolving loan fund helped preserve them it is important to save part of the
history of our city and I serve on the board of a non-profit
we have done that with a number of projects or properties in Northwest
Denver those are the few remaining affordable housing projects in that part
of town now in the lower Highlands neighborhood and the changes that we’re
looking at being made to the historic preservation ordinance are going to be
really important to ensuring that we protect the housing stock in our city
that is warranty of historic preservation Keo miss Ortega Johnny
Heiser up next thank you two things I’d like to do and
see with this is one revisit what the qualifications are for historic sites
for Historic Landmarks and and and help to preserve that we’ve lost some things
in the past that that could have been designated as historic sites and so I’d
like to look into that and also look at what others like short-term history
value we can historic value we can put on on certain things that don’t have
that don’t meet the qualifications right now for an historic site the other thing
that I’d like to do is just put more of our budgeting into that preservation and
making sure that that preservation is maintained and
I’d also think we can expand on that to to what else could be historic sites and
expose it into that the education so that people can learn how the knowledge
of what makes this historic why it’s important to us so that we have a
database we can go to and learn about this at these sites next up is Jesse
LaShawn Paris so my top four priorities would be historic preservation as I
stated earlier I grew up in the northeast quadrant of the city
historically known as the Harlem of the West five points and we had to fight
tooth in now just to make sure that our community was deemed historic and now
there is high-rise buildings going up right across the street from the sign
and it’s been covered up so my main focus would be maintaining that
neighborhood such as Five Points neighborhoods such as Sun Valley
neighborhoods such as Berkeley etc historically black and brown
neighborhoods montbello Park Hill maintained historic preservation and
maintained their culture and this can start by educate by making sure there’s
education around the history we have the blare car well in five points that is
the Robin can each same question thank you I’m honored to be participating
right now in an update to our landmark ordinance to add cultural criteria for
the first time to eliminate some of the bias and the historic designation of
just buildings kind of designed and built by white guys so that we have for
example important moments in Latino history or African American history that
might not have the same famous architect involved also be acknowledged and
designated second we have a survey happening citywide called discover
Denver and it helps us identify all the resources across the city so we actually
know what we have now with that survey we can specialize folks who do
renovations or in provements to those properties so that
we can kind of keep them up in their same style you already heard me mention
churches it’s worth it to allow a little more building around a church to someone
who agrees to keep that building and repurpose it so we can keep our historic
churches thank you all right this is our final submitted question and we’re gonna
begin with Tony Pigford do you support rent control to help rising rent costs
in Denver what other policies can we implement to
curb Denver’s increasing cost of living the rent control discussion has been
interesting I went to an affordable housing meeting at manuel high school
and some of our elected officials and council people showed up and rent
control came up and the response we got from our city council people was they
punted they said that’s a state issue I think the City Council folks have an
obligation to be sure that our state capitol is more full of citizens than it
is lobbyists and so I am a supporter of rent control and that’s something the
state legislature has been looking at but city council people have a role in
all state legislation we can’t punt things to the state lawmakers there’s a
lot of other things when I mentioned earlier levers that we haven’t pulled
Community Land Trust the city is actually fought community who wanted to
create a land trust accessory dwelling units citywide there can be unique sort
of co-op living arrangements and so we’ve got to get creative we’ve got to
look at other things that have been implemented across the nation on rent
control is one of them and I’m glad the state legislature is looking at it and
City Council needs to be involved at the capital in those discussions Thank You
Debra Ortega you’re next so we were in fact doing what is
referred to as rent control in our city before the Telluride ruling came down I
was the co-chair of our housing task force that created our inclusionary
housing ordinance and this ordinance was requiring anybody building in our city
that was doing more than 30 units to include 10% at 80% of the area median
income and we were including rental housing but the Telluride ruling
basically said this is a matter of state jurisdiction not local control
until our legislators change that we cannot do that with rental projects
unless there is city financing in a project and when we do have city
financing we are extracting affordable commitments from developers across our
city and that is important to addressing the needs of so many people in our
community that can’t afford to live here next up is Johnny Hayes thank you so
City Council and city government does have a history of working with the state
department working working with a state legislation and I believe they’re
currently doing that right now over an issue revolving not plastic and so I
believe renters need protection not only people who are renting a home but
businesses also as well so I look into I do believe if we can work at this with
the state level then we could provide some sort of rent control some rent
stabilization and some renters protection I do know from my own
experience I did live in New York City where I received my degree I saw the
benefits that rent control rent stabilization had especially to the
student population and how that encouraged living in housing for
students also the improvements that come along with it the responsibilities that
building and housing owners have within that so I definitely think I want to
that’s something we need to look at work with the state all right thank you
Jesse LaShawn Paris you’re up next yes I support rent control wholeheartedly at
the state level in at the city level but as has been previously stated this is a
Statehouse issue so we have to encourage our state legislators to push for a rent
control for the whole state and overturn the Telluride decision I worked on many
projects in organizations around rent control in the city I support a warranty
of habitability I have been a victim of slumlords in this city so I will
advocate for that I also support community land Trust’s 80 use we need to
look at our groups we need to change that right now it’s
illegal for three or more unrelated people to live in a house so we need to
revisit that so as you actually counsel while large I would look into all that
and I’ve already served on panels with neech and Debbie Ortega to look further
into that all right Thank You Robyn can each thank you
the limitation on rent control has stopped us both from doing inclusionary
rental housing in the city as well as from stabilizing rents for people as
they live in a unit for longer I have had no knee conversations with state
legislators about the limitations and how they’ve impacted us in Denver
oon a one of the key organizations supporting this bill that is proposed at
the state legislature I used to work for and I’m absolutely a part of shaping the
current bill that’s being shaped in terms of housing policy I worry a little
bit that folks think that this one policy can solve all of our challenges
and that’s not exactly true I would absolutely support the ability
to do inclusionary housing I absolutely would support the ability
to help stabilize rents as they go up what I can’t do is with this with if
even if rent control passes I can’t pass a magic wand and change the price of all
the apartments in Denver I have to keep building new affordable housing I have
to keep giving people access to existing housing through rental assistance and
vouchers and other ways that they get access I have to keep them in their
homes with property tax relief in the AG’s commute Lynn Langdon your turn hi
I’m in agreement actually with Robyn on this I do not I support rent control
however I don’t believe that this is just going to solve all our problems and
that people focus a lot on this what I actually would like is for us also to
focus on moving into the future that developers are providing a mix constant
mix and more housing because obviously the more housing we have when you have a
shortage of housing the prices go up when you don’t have a shortage and
there’s more housing options with the mix the rents come down so I think
naturally we need to improve some of those things
all right well done candidates we’re gonna shift now into our lightning round
so you’re gonna have to control yourselves you can only say yes no or
pass these questions no it’s called the lightning round
so no expanding and we’re gonna return to our ballot order so we’re gonna begin
with Jesse LaShawn Parris okay here we go
do you support initiative 300 the right to survive initiative yes yes no yes no
you Cho do you support purchasing and
maintaining more portable restrooms for the public’s use yes yes absolutely yes
yes yes do you think approval of the Denver right plans should be postponed
until after the election yes yes yes yes yes pass in the five years since it was
legalized have you personally tried any of the various products offered by
recreational marijuana stores yes Pass no yes oh yes are you in favor of
safe injection sites in Denver no yes yes with a caveat
yes no yes was the salary and benefit package that comes with the job of being
on City Council a factor in your deciding to run for office no no no no
no no do you support the continued use of tax incentives to recruit firms to
relocate to Denver no no it depends Pass not so much
rarely we’ve strayed from the format alright
have you attended your neighborhood association meeting in the last six
months yes yes no yes no close maybe yes not sure did you participate in the
recent Denver right planning process yes no yes no no yes if you were not running
for office is there someone sitting at the table that you would vote for if I
was not running for office Tony yes yes we’re you get leeway on this one yes I’m
voting for me yes Debbie Ortega yes Tony ass all right that’s our lightning round
let’s give them a hand you’ve survived all right now it’s an
opportunity for you guys to ask each other questions one-on-one so you’ll
select an opponent who you want to answer the question hopefully they will
answer it so we will go in ballot order again so mr. Parris you may ask one of
your opponents a question and they will have one minute to answer okay Debbie
Ortega is it true that we had to go to the city to get tiny home villages
because the city was not making it a priority so do I get to library yes you
have one minute okay yes the zoning code did not have a provision that allowed
for tiny homes and so it required some massaging if you will of how to allow
this to happen and to make sure that health and safety was being addressed as
part of the tiny home village and as you all know it’s a site or a they’ve had to
be moving around too locations I’m on a group home task force
that is looking at changes to our group living ordinance that is looking at
creating some language that would allow the permanent existence of tiny homes at
various locations in the city Johnny Hayes your turn to ask an opponent a
question thanks I think I’m gonna ask you a question to Daddy
so we both have an interest I think we’re coming from a similar place when
it comes to the film industry and what we’d like to sort of see in Denver can
you maybe just talk a little bit about what kind of ideas you’d like to do to
promote that sort of permanency or thank you for that question this is actually
an issue that I have done some work on I worked on trying to create a 5% rebate
to the film industry where they would have to spend the money upfront and at
the very back end after they completed a project and we saw their financials very
similar to what happens at the state level then we would be able to rebate 5%
back to them this would bring our film industry back we were the first state in
the country to have a Film Commission and right now the business goes to other
states that offer these incentives and it brings significant investment to our
city so that is something that I would continue to push to do and I’ve actually
asked our mayor’s office to consider to reconsider this 5% rebate Debbie Ortega
it’s your turn to ask a question I want to ask Tony a question about why is it
important for all of us to know where tier 2 facilities are in our city and
who should they be reporting to you’re talking about SCF d-22 facilities oh I’m
talking about tier 2 facilities in our city that carry that store various
hazardous materials for their business operations and your question is why is
that important or who do they report to and why is that important why is it
important to know where these tier 2 facilities are and who should
they’d be reporting – gosh I think about the damage that’s being done to our
environment and I’m not sure who is tracking those two your two facilities
because we’ve got one of the most polluted ZIP codes in the country Suncor
although it’s in commerce city has been allowed to expand production without
city calpads council members extending or attending those meetings and so i
think it should be the role of City Council and the mayor’s office to know
where those hazardous facilities are and there is nothing more important look at
Houston right now we’ve got the second oil refinery already going right now I
think that’s causing a lot of damage in Houston I’m concerned that we’ve got
hazardous materials sites in Denver close to residents mostly black and
brown and poor folks that aren’t being treated with the urgency or even made
publicly aware as a citizen I don’t know on city council nobody has told me where
these facilities are and I think there needs to be more transparency and
accountability along those lines all right Tony Pickford it’s your turn to
ask a question councilman Ortega your response to the save open space Denver
candidate questionnaire about the future of Park Hill Golf Course open space
indicated that you would be willing to consider allowing some development on
the land despite the fact that the city paid the Clayton trust two million
dollars in 1997 for a perpetual open space conservation easement please
explain to the voters why the city should be willing to consider tearing up
a perpetual open space conservation easement covering this parcel so first
of all the fact that we do have the conservation easement on that property
means that we should not be revisiting the the reuse of that site this was a
discussion that was taking place when the Clayton trust was talking about
trying to sell that land and many of our neighborhoods were very involved I know
I&C was actively engaged in this conversation and having the open space
in our community is vital important to our neighborhoods across
the city and as you all know the voters passed an initiative last year that will
allow us to have more green space in our city and as we’re seeing more new growth
and development we want to make sure we have enough open space very similar to
what we did when we built the central plateau Lee and looked at how much green
space we wanted as opposed to just saying it should only be 10% of the
development that’s coming into that area Lin Lang didn’t you may ask an opponent
a question okay Tony since you and I are the only
at-large candidates that signed the ban on fracking I would like to ask you to
explain the importance of that arguably the issue that should be on the top of
everyone’s list is climate change and I got a lot of pushback I got 21 different
candidates to sign a pledge to ban fracking as we are watching the bill go
through the Capitol to get local control with the oil and gas regulations I think
we need to be proactive there is nothing more important for our future than to
address climate change in in swift ways again it comes down to people and planet
before profit fracking is one of the worst things that we can do they can
drill horizontally for almost two miles we’ve already had the threat of fracking
coming into the Stapleton area out in dia and so it is imperative that we
address climate change and public safety at the top it should be at the top of
our priority list so I thank you Lynn for being one of the 21 courageous
candidates who said that if we got local control on that we would explore the
option of banning fracking and perpetuity in Denver Robin can each you
may ask a question thank you Jesse Paris the LGBT the gay lesbian and
transgender community has had a lot of very painful experiences with therapists
trying to change someone’s gender or change someone’s sexual orientation a
lot of very harmful psychological impacts and this therapies Bendis
when counsel proposed a ban on this practice you voted you came and you
testified very vociferously against that ban and I’d like you to talk about why
it is that you believe that parents should be able to subject their children
to this type of therapy okay well I knew this was coming um so the reason why I
opposed it it’s because what was not being mentioned and was not being
brought up was the fact that a lot of these children have been molested have
been sexually abused I deal with a lot of LGBTQ community with the homeless and
I’ve heard personal testimony and stories from members of this community
that this has happened to them and that was not discussed and that’s the reason
why I opposed it all right we have another one-on-one opportunity round so
candidates you can once again choose one of your opponents and ask a question and
we’re gonna go in ballot order again so Jesse LaShawn Paris do you have a
question for an opponent yes Deb you are taking you’ve been a City office for the
past thirty plus years what have you done to mitigate any of this
displacement gentrification and rapid displacement of people of color in this
town so I have not actually served as an elected official for thirty years it
will be twenty four years by the end of this term so as I mentioned before I am
on the board of a non-profit housing development organization that has been
building affordable housing across our city they oftentimes to do get resources
from the city to help build that housing and make sure that we are serving many
of our most vulnerable communities our veterans people who are chronically
mentally ill people who have been formerly homeless and as a councilmember
I have both brought forward legislation and have supported legislation that has
worked to not only address affordable housing but
has work to ensure that we have the resources that work with our homeless
population that we have enough shelter beds in our city that we’re working to
address the needs of struggling families trying to stay in this city and creating
affordable jobs for them so take a Johnny Hayes you can ask a question if
you like sure I have questions for everybody so I’m trying to think of I
guess so so Tony might my nephew goes to your
school so I think of him as an education man within your experience through
education what’s the biggest difficulty that you’ve seen experienced or
witnessed from a government level dealing with education and what would
you like to see done about that or what would you do about that thank you for
that question and it’s been a pleasure to be at the boys school and work with
so many amazing students and families I think again it goes back to poverty
being you know ultimately the greatest threat to our national security and our
security in Denver and government policy has a lot to do with the exacerbating
inequity and you know increasing the levels of poverty so each and every day
I work with students and families that come from backgrounds of poverty and
trauma and as much love that we pour into these families in these students
when they’re coming from you know cycles of poverty that go back generations and
our city isn’t doing enough to give our children access to upward mobility and
generational wealth it makes our job extremely challenging
thank goodness for all the teachers out there my wife included who’s been a
teacher and union member for 12 years so I think that we need to elect people
this election who will really focus on upward mobility generational wealth and
being sure that neighborhoods are safe so that we can prepare students and
families before they get to those school doors and I look forward to doing that
as one of your City Council at-large representatives deborah ortega do you
have a question I have a question for my colleague Councilwoman can each what is
your approach to a strong mayor form of government
addressing local issues thank you so you already heard that one of my mantras is
be prepared to say no when you have to so forty first and Fox target subsidies
I also actually voted against the entire budget because I didn’t believe the
accountability was where it needed to be yet for the new housing fund so
sometimes you just have to say no to the administration other times you have to
be prepared to not accept no for an answer so for example when we couldn’t
get support for an eviction Defense Fund we raised dollars from our actual office
budgets which are pretty pretty small but we collectively put them together
and created an eviction defense fund I also had to raise private foundation
dollars for an economic study for a housing policy that the administration
didn’t want to partner with so don’t accept no for an answer
and then lastly work with them when you can because there are enormous resources
and expertise creating a new housing fund it took us a while to get the
administration on board but once we did we were able to work with them and their
enormous amount of resources to get the legal technical help we needed to get
the fee in place to follow all the steps we needed to to get the property tax
which is very complicated under Tabor all right thank you Tony Pigford do you
have a question I do for Councilwoman Konishi City Council decline to
investigate the sexual harassment claim of mayor Hancock I would like to know
what you have done specifically to ensure that this never happens again in
our civic city government and so that subordinates who are sexually harassed
have some sort of recourse what have you done to address that issue I helped to
draft the majority of the policy that the City Council adopted to hold itself
accountable and that included reaching out to experts on sexual assault and
women’s issues to make sure that they specifically weighed in and provided
numerous language changes to our own policy we also have an approach that we
are working on now to consider whether we can adopt an ordinance that would
help to sync up all the departments we have one executive agency that has not
yet adopted their own policy to ensure that there is an internal investigation
process for all branches of government the Charter provides some limitations on
our ability to control other branches of government only Congress can impeach a
president our counsel did not have that power and we
had an enormous set of state laws that protected confidentiality of certain
information and provided us a path one of my obligations as a council member is
to make sure that I’m not knowingly violating the law when you swear in you
have to swear an oath and you can’t do something without the signature you need
to make sure that your city attorney signs off on it without placing the
taxpayers at risk I didn’t think so Lin Lang didn’t do you have a question
yes it’s for Miss connect Councilwoman Canady
one of the things I heard a lot of the people who were speaking directly to me
say that they were concerned about with you was why do you accept campaign
donations from developers I have had no problem voting against folks before they
give while they’re giving after they give and I can give specific examples I
had no problem voting against a cable company who contributed to my campaign
when they didn’t have the diversity plan that they needed for their rollout I had
no problem supporting a cable franchise that another donor didn’t want me to
support I have voted against developers regularly they opposed the linkage fee
that I passed they have opposed inclusionary housing
changes that I’ve made they repeatedly oppose my policies and so I’ve had no
problem taking a pretty strong path in terms of my ability to vote
independently regardless of who the contributions are from robben can each
you may ask a question great so councilman Ortega you mentioned a
little bit about toxic chemicals and you’ve had a passion for rail safety I
know you’ve spent a lot of time on that I’m curious kind of what you feel the
outcomes have been in terms of promoting rail safety for some of the communities
that live close to the rail going through our city thank you for that
question as we are expected to see more development a lot of that is adjacent to
rail and this is particularly important where we have cargo that carries
hazardous and flammable liquids we spent six months with a process that was
spearheaded by fire chief Cade that helped us look at what are we doing with
existing development to ensure those communities are safe and
what are we doing with new development that’s coming in to address creating
some kind of buffering we now have a checkbox that is on the design review
development review and the rezoning process that will ensure that developers
are doing their part to address the safety for existing developments we are
working with our office of Economic Development I’m sorry our local
emergency planning committee through the office of emergency preparedness that is
working with the managers of buildings the central plateau valley is one of
those neighborhoods that has asked for this kind of support
all right candidates now we move to our closing statements you will each have
one minute for a closing statement and we’re going to reverse the order of the
opening statements which means we will begin with Robin Koenig thank you so
much to our hosts and to all of you who are here watching on Channel 8 tonight
I’ve shared some of my accomplishments and I’m running for re-election to build
on those accomplishments and grow the impact on the lives of the people in
this city you’ve heard how important it is to me
that we preserve the history of our city while ensuring that growth has a
conscience that conscience needs to include affordability it needs to
include open space it needs to include very important high environmental
standards that protect our climate and it needs to include transportation that
helps us all move around more efficiently and improves our quality of
life I believe that I have been a partner and you’ve heard about how I
work collaboratively to get the things that I work on done I’ve been proud of
collaborating with council members and communities including those who’ve
walked in shoes that I haven’t liked communities of color I’ve worked with on
police accountability and like those who have expertise that I don’t I need each
of you to govern and I look forward to your vote so that I can be your large
person again thank you lynn Langdon you have one minute for your closing
statement thank you so much to everyone here it’s been wonderful and I’m honored
to be in the presence of all these people running I have spent the last
several weeks knocking on doors meeting people in the street
it’s getting to know them face-to-face and introducing myself I’ve listened to
each person’s perspective and heard the issues they felt needed to be addressed
every signature for my nomination was a I got myself I met them directly and in
person and I did so because it was important to me that I be accountable
and present for the citizens of Denver whereas others had people get the
signatures for them I intend to go out go through my term and I intend to be
accessible to the people it’s of upmost importance to me I’m also the only
candidate not taking money from any special interest groups developers or
other people and I’m doing this so that I can be a hundred percent available and
make decisions based on equality for everyone so thank you I’m sorry you’re
at a time Tony Pickford Europe next thank you this
has been fun I appreciate it I’m running for Denver City Council
at-large out of moral conviction not any personal ambition community service came
with my breakfast cereal growing up and I like my ancestors have a unique skill
set where I’m a blend of an entrepreneur an educator and a social justice warrior
I’ve already led some citizen led legislation and campaign finance reform
in tewi I was one of the five people to get that going and also the let Denver
vote ballot initiative which will give Denver voters a say if any public funds
should be spent on any future Olympic bid I used to sit with my great-aunt and
she would have Nita knees where she would sit down when I was a little boy
and she’d pour a glass of scotch and it was called a knee to knee because our
knees would touch and she would say Tony if you want to solve any problem you’ve
got to get down with the problem it’s about proximity that’s exactly how all
Co govern with the community I will have knee to knees with people in Denver so
we can create the most just equitable and vibrant city in the country vote for
Tony Pickford May 7th thank you now a closing statement from Deborah Ortega so
I’ve been looking out for the taxpayers interests in the City and County of
Denver and I will continue to do so with your support
I sounded the alarm when the proposed fracking was scheduled to come at
Stapleton and was successful with the help of the residents from Stapleton in
stopping that I have worked to protect the neighborhoods of global area spawn
SIA regarding the impact of the i-70 project I have been monitoring the
environmental cleanups in this area I’m your neighbor
I lead in that way as being a neighbor and I will continue to expand my time
and my resources from my office and addressing the needs of our
neighborhoods our neighborhoods are what make Denver unique and beautiful and we
need to continue to protect that I continue to addressing the growth in our
city and doing that in a way that addresses it with equities Ortega
apologized to cut you off Johnny Hayes you have a closing statement thank you
first of all as I mentioned before I understand if you have a first love up
here and who you want to vote for but think about who’s gonna work with that
person because you get to vote for three council members you get a vote for one
for your district and you get to choose two of us up here so what I would say if
we’re all working on similar issues but if also like promotion of the Arts
encouraging the film industry to thrive here in Denver if the deaf community is
important to you civil rights and mental health
along with what we’re dealing with homelessness and the growth creative and
forward-thinking and transportation solutions along with affordable living
and government accountability if those are issues that are important to you as
well then I ask for you to consider voting for me for City Council thank you
very much and finally with his closing statement
is Jesse LaShawn Paris thank you thank you all for coming out today thank you
to everybody that made this put this whole thing together as your next city
council we’re at large I will continue to champion for our most vulnerable
communities our homeless our black and brown populations in our poor
populations to create age in equitable and inclusive Denver we can
all be proud of for generations to come well we fill that home and all that
strangers in our own neighborhoods and communities we need bono leadership and
we will who will stand up to developers and corporations and be accountable to
the community and co govern with the community I am the only candidate who
has not brought and has personally been affected by the policies this current
council has passed and I’m the voice of the voiceless the voice of the homeless
and the black and brown communities and actually your vote on May 7th Jesse for
council I’m on top of the ballot thank you all right thank you to all the
candidates we have a fabulous audience here tonight and you guys get to have a
voice so to speak by um showing your appreciation for our candidates thank
you guys for being here also our thanks to the Denver decides partners which
include the inner neighborhood cooperation the League of Women Voters
of Denver and historic Denver Denver decides is presented by Denver atetv the
forum today is also sponsored by the Alamo Placida Neighborhood Association
Capitol Hill United neighborhoods the Golden Triangle creative district and
uptown on the hill our thanks to all of them as well we also want to thank the
staff and management of the Denver Art Museum for their assistance and
cooperation we hope we have given you a fair look at
each candidate vying to represent the entire city of Denver as one of two
at-large council members for Denver City Council and for a complete look at all
of our information online you can go to Denver decides dot-com
I’m Wendy broccoli thanks for joining us you

Danny Hutson

6 thoughts on “Denver Decides 2019 _ Candidate Forum At-Large

  1. Thank You SO much for posting these presentations! This is really where tangible change meets rational dialogue without the filter and hype of panic and rhetoric. It's exceedingly heartening to know that my neighbors are all genuine folk, who aren't characterized by the overarching and loud battles raging nationally, but are diligently helping us all improve our lives,. Thank you to everyone on this panel and all the panels that you exhibit. Keep it up!

  2. Dont forget asses, a large portion of this country will defend of all enemies, in your case DOMESTIC. Sleep well mother flickers.

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