Denver Decides Forum: Council District 8

Denver Decides Forum: Council District 8


hello I’m Wendy Brockman welcome to
Denver decides Denver decides is a community partnership dedicated to
accessible and transparent elections the partnership includes the League of Women
Voters of Denver in her neighborhood cooperation historic Denver and is
presented by Denver atetv 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 citizens
in City Council District eight City Council District eight is located in
Northeast 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 of the forum since we do
have a time limit we may not get to all of the questions all of the questions
will be answered by the candidates and their responses will be timed our timers
are out in front where candidates can see them so let’s begin by meeting the
candidates vying to represent you on Denver City Council for district 8 the
candidates are seated left to right facing the audience in the order that
they appear on the ballot so beginning to my far right is Chris Herndon Patrick
Tebow Miguel ceballos Ruiz LeMond Knowles Eric
Penn and Blair Taylor let’s welcome the candidates we will begin with one-minute opening
statements from each of the six candidates and we will proceed in ballot
order with these statements so once again starting at my far right you have
a one minute opening statement Chris Herndon thank you so much for the
opportunity to come and speak to you this job is about one thing and that is
service and as a veteran I know what it means to serve
I’ve proudly served this country for nearly seven years in the United States
Army I’ve proudly served northeast Denver as
council member representing district 11 district 8 two of those years as council
president and I’m asking for your vote to serve for four more years
we’ve made great strides and to tackle head-on the problems of affordability
infrastructure and sustainability and I look forward to having a conversation
and sharing with you how we want to continue to serve for the next four
years thank you got your team oh thank you very buddy for being here this
evening my name is Patrick Tebow and I’m a proud fourth generation resident of
near North Eastham er grew up in a single-parent home in the East Colfax
corridor and so fortunate to have been raised in the hard work and
determination of a single mom that’s led me down that pathway of service to my
community been a grassroots community organizer as well as the chief of staff
for both the state senator and state representative one of the things I
learned most from my mom is that be a doer not a talker I’ve worked to
establish a permanent affordable housing fund statewide vaakya pie the US
Senators office for 36 hours in support of our dreamers and with that community
experience and I’ve also been the political action chair for n double acp
Denver I can get to work day one for our neighborhoods and now an opening
statement from Miguel Ceballos Ruiz good afternoon everybody it’s really good to
be here amongst friends at home I grew up here in Marbella and this is honestly
where my heart is montbello is a community that’s been
through a lot of challenges and we continue to fight to improve our
neighborhood day by day I know what it is like to have roots here
I am the only immigrant also that is running for Denver City Council right
now I was brought here as a baby and my family you know by 1990 was able to
purchase a home in Montebello so I grew up between my Belo high school and
crowned market and I really look forward to speaking to you tonight about the
changes that I want to bring and starting with bringing the community
back to the table for district 8 thank you now an opening statement from Lemone
Knowles thank you thanks everyone for coming out tonight
my name is Lamone Knowles I’m a second generation Denver native alumni of
Denver Public Schools Metropolitan State College I’m also a career federal
government employee with the Department of Veterans Affairs my community
organizing work began with acorn with the subprime lending and foreclosure
campaign and that’s when the housing issue became really acute and this was
back in the early 2000s and here we are almost 20 years later and it’s even
worse than it was so my focus is going to be on housing and homelessness issues
thank you now let’s hear from Eric Penn again thank you everybody for being here
tonight it’s a girl ego honor to speak with you I moved to Colorado when I was
12 I came because my parents realized that they weren’t going to be able to
make the living that they wanted for us in the career fields that they loved my
mother is a veteran from the Navy and my father worked in the food industry and
he ended up taking a job in the oil fields that brought him up to Colorado
and what we still realize when we made it here is that we still couldn’t afford
living even with the money that the oilfield was paying at the time we still
faced homelessness food insecurity and these are the issues that led me to work
in my community when I came back I worked and now the opportunity to work
with a lot of the champions I see in this room tonight so it’s a pleasure to
speak amongst you and I hope that we get to some of the important issues thank
you for your time and now with her opening statement is Blair Taylor hello
and thank you so much for having me my name is Blair Taylor and my family and I
have lived in Denver for 12 years I am a twice selected member of the Greater
Park Hill Board and a member of the Northeast Park Hill coalition this year
i won the J Carlton Babs award and the i NC
neighborhood star award for my commitment to listen and lead and stand
up for my community I earned a D MBA at D U and strategic partnerships to ensure
that community organizations like these our financials financially sustainable
and they can continue on with their missions I think that being a
representative means having a real connection with your residents and we
need somebody now who can address all of the mismanaged growth we need a leader
who will protect our distinct district 8 neighborhoods and will ensure that their
needs are met first thank you so much for having me all right Thank You
candidates now the first of our submitted questions and 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 Blair Taylor in your opinion
has council district 8 received the same or an appropriate amount of resources
from the city as other districts have I think that as I said district 8 has some
very different neighborhoods Park Hill Stapleton Southwest my fellow in East
Colfax they are diverse they have very different needs and we can see just
based on their age that the equity that they’ve received is not the same
Parkhill is a hundred years old Matt Bello is about 50 years old
Stapleton is only 20 years old they have gotten a lot more much quicker and I
think that the older the neighborhood the less that it’s received and we need
to do much better we need to ensure that we have diverse housing stock and
developments that come down the line we need to ensure that public
transportation serves the far northeast we need to make sure that schools and
children have the same equity in all community schools not just charter
schools where they automatically get funding I so the answer to the question
is that no I do not think so all right next is Eric Penn same
question you have one minute I think this question touches on some of
the difficulties that are living in district 8 district 11 as well we have a
lot of what we see a single-family residential and with that we haven’t
seen the investment that comes with it our population is growing we need
density and that density has found itself mostly around downtown and in
North Denver and we’ve seen a lack of investment in our communities right now
what we’re seeing the most of is Stapleton’s growth and it’s finishing
its near end and then the i-70 project but those aren’t the issues that people
are facing on a day to day when you drive through the neighborhood you
realized very quickly that the streets are not wide enough there are potholes
kids aren’t having safe routes to schools families don’t have the
community amenities that they used to that they were familiar with and that
our seniors are being forced out of these communities we need to invest more
resources into the areas of towns that are not necessarily downtown that are in
our big metro areas but they’re the areas that people want to live and that
will people intend to raise their families all right thank you same
question for Lamont Lamone Knowles I don’t believe that Northeast Park Hill
or montbello have the same resources as other parts of the district mainly
because of the lack of amenities the lack of investments and the perceived
notion that the residents of Northeast Park Hill and montbello are low income
and low voter turnout and don’t really matter but those two neighborhoods in
particular we’re very vital back in the 60s and 70s during the civil rights era
and a lot of the people still remain all right Miguel’s Ceballos Ruiz you are –
it’s your turn to answer that same question yeah you know in here in
montbello as I grew up here it’s always felt like we don’t have access to many
amenities like the rest of the city does and I know this is also true in North
East Park Hill in particular I know what it is like to grow up in a food swap and
food desert you know at 27 I was diagnosed with diabetes and so in Juan
Bello there it is still a whole lot we’re to get unhealthy fast food than it
is to get an organic salad and that is still what we’re facing we have higher
density of health concerns also and right now what we really need is a plan
a plan to get us these services so how are we going to get downtown to the i-70
construction right and on top of that we don’t have a walk-in clinic in Mount
Bella right we there’s not a clinic where you can just walk in if you feel
like your Sugar’s too high if you feel like your blood pressure is too high
those are the services that we need immediately an additional yes thank you
and that’s my time that’s right Patrick Tebow you’re up next
um no I don’t feel that all of our neighborhoods are tree equally
especially when just today so I live on the south part of the district and to
get to downtown on bus it’d take me about 20-30 minutes I went to city of
Aksum Park earlier this morning which is off MLK and birch also wanted to take
the bus that took me almost an hour it took me almost an hour to travel through
my own district so no we we definitely need to improve our options throughout
the district and make sure that we have equity and transit housing and amenities
as well Chris Herndon Europe when the voters
passed the nearly nine hundred sixty million dollar bond almost ten percent
of that is going to district 8 if you’re thinking about transportation and
mobility and infrastructure bus rapid transit the additional bike lanes the
additional sidewalks projects such as the Pauline Robinson
library and North East Park Hill will be expanded so that’s one example how we’re
investing in our city if you think about our plans that we’re doing we’re
finishing up the three-year Denver right plan or we’re having a broad
conversation about what we want our city to do but the city also realized the
needs for small area plans and we started to small area plans and guess
where they are montbello East Colfax first tube small area plans in district
8 we are focusing on district 8 we’re making investments in different district
day and right here in the montbello community
we’re having conversations about adding a affordable housing grocer component
right here in montbello we are absolutely investing in the district
date and we’re going to continue to do so thank you all right thank you our
next question and the first to answer will be Erik pen the question is it
seems this election has an undertone of old Denver versus new Denver to it which
do you consider yourself and why yeah I think it’s tough to say which I consider
myself I I can understand what the dynamic is and I think to Blair’s point
earlier we’re dealing with neighborhoods that come from three different
generations we’re dealing with a hundred thousand people in the last ten years
and another 200,000 in the next ten years is projected and so there is this
poll I used to tell people Denver has it all it’s a beautiful metropolis that has
the plains on one side it has the mountains on the other you can go to the
theater we had a number of sports teams that rivaled New York but now you know
we’re seeing that growth we’re seeing lack of access to those amenities that
we once enjoyed it’s getting harder and harder to get to the mountains to ski
it’s getting harder and harder to get to your local parks and so I would say I’m
somewhere in the middle I want to appreciate with things that we had I
want to see those things flourish and be protected but I know that we need to
adjust our our direction for the future of what the city is going to become all
right next up is limo Knowles I would say I’m old Denver only because I’ve
been around a long time longer than most of these guys sitting here and Denver at
the time was very family-oriented we had neighborhood schools we had
shopping in our areas we walked we caught public transportation we didn’t
really need to use our cars but as time went on and then the divestment from the
neighborhood went on then the public transportation started contracting the
schools started failing and so we’re flailing right now but I would say I’m
old school because it was good back then all right Miguel said by osram youth
yeah excellent answer Lamont I think you know sounding in
old school is it really sounds wonderful I’ve been here all my life this is the
only home that I’ve ever known but there was a moment in which my family were new
here brain and so we as immigrants know what it is like to face discrimination
and hate head-on and so as an immigrant I do not hold a xenophobic stance where
I say no you know what no new people we’re gonna continue to grow and we need
to welcome the people who are gonna come into our city and help it become a
wonderful place right but however I do tell newcomers that they must learn the
history of the spaces that they now occupy that is extremely important
because we’ve been through a lot in our communities and that has to be respected
all right thank you Patrick Tebow you’re up next I’m both I’m fourth generation
again resident here in Denver this is where I grew up I’ve seen our
neighborhoods growing change I know what’s made our neighborhoods great and
especially in Park Hill you can find all walks of life races backgrounds creeds
and genders all living on one block but we’re starting to lose that identity but
I’m also a millennial and so I know the ideas and a vision of you know how we
can for have forward progress for our city but the reason why I say both is
because that’s what our district eight neighborhoods need is a vision that
unites the history that’s made us great but is welcoming to our new neighbors as
well all right Chris earned it well I’m sure my 15 year old daughter with that
daughter will deaf you tell you that I’m old because I can’t keep up with all the
acronyms and her terminologies that she does on a daily basis but it really is
the people that whether you’re been here a day or you’ve been here for your
entire life you want a safe community you want access to resources you want to
be able to get to where you go in a short reasonable amount of time and
that’s what we’re doing as a city we know that we have challenges with growth
and that’s why we’re tackling them head-on
with our small area plans with our investment in our infrastructure with
the passage of our bond looking for opportunities to create parks in North
Park Hill so we recognize that there’s challenges but people want to be in safe
sustainable communities and they want to grow their families here and that is
exactly what we’re doing now and making those investments right here in district
8 thank you all right blair-taylor it is your turn thanks so
much I feel like this is a really interesting question so I would
categorize myself as a new Denver right although I’ve been here for 12 years but
I am raising two native Denverites and I think that I I want to bring both to the
table working on community issues for the past five years has provided me with
the opportunity to meet and learn and have context in our neighborhoods with
people who have been here for 30 40 50 years when we talk about naming the Park
Inn on Fairfax in 28th its name gonna be named for people who have lived here
much much longer than I have and there’s value to that we need to recognize the
history and the character and that’s what makes district 8 so great is these
distinct neighborhoods and I want to raise my children to respect that I
think there’s a lot of value and there are a lot of lessons to be learned all
right next is our third question for the candidates and this time we’re gonna
begin with Lamone Knowles here’s your question
district 8 is home to some of Denver’s largest swaths of pre World War two
homes but there’s been controversy over what areas to protect what specific
actions will you take to help resolve these conflicts and identify successful
preservation strategies so South Park Hill probably has the oldest and largest
properties in Northeast Denver and there was a campaign but historic versus non
historic because some of the newcomers want to split their Lots and and that
totally disrupts the character of the community I really don’t have a strategy
per se because I need to talk more to the community too
find out what they want so that’s gonna be a work in progress all right
Miguel Ceballos Ruiz your turn you know yes I was we move forward in the
construction of the bus rapid transit along Colfax I feel that that is a
corridor of opportunity where we should be putting a lot of the low-income and
affordable housing because it’s right on transit and people you know who don’t
afford to have a car can live there I really want to ensure that that is what
happens there we don’t want that quarter to become exclusive where it’s nothing
but luxury this is what we’ve been seeing throughout Denver where we don’t
afford to buy into these new communities we are creating and so I feel that yes
we have to put new neighborhoods along you know where there are older
neighborhoods and there does have to be a protection of the character especially
right next to Park Hill because it’s a beautiful people loved I love to drive
down 17th Avenue right but there’s also areas where we where housing has to be a
priority and I really believe that instead of pushing all the affordable
housing way out here to Green Valley Ranch where it comes with its own
challenges to access we must really be conscience Thank You
Patrick Tuohey Bowyer Epix yeah this is a fantastic question and so
probably prevalent for our district eight neighborhoods I was actually just
speaking with a gentleman a couple days ago and he’s lived in Park Hill for over
30 years and he he pointed to the middle of the block and said look look over
there there they’re popping the top and
they’re gonna sell it for 1.2 million and it’s right across the street from
another house that’s sold for 1.2 million these these types of these are
the types of things that are pushing our our neighbors out of the communities and
homes that they’ve lived in for generations and so one of the things
that I would immediately do is work to with our neighbors especially to help
them understand the planning and review process to make sure that they can make
good quality decisions when they’re talking about refurbishment and
construction of homes to make sure that they’re able to preserve the character
of the neighborhood but then also make sure that they’re not pricing out their
neighbor all right thank you Chris Herndon you’re
next yeah so the City and County of Denver currently has a landmark
preservation policy and ordinance so if individuals are interested in
designating a home s historic whether they’re being their own or an or another
one there’s a process that we can go through that generally speaking does a
good job but as a city we realized we could we could make it better and so
we’re going through a process right now to strengthen that policy but generally
speaking the best way to do that is to bring the community members together and
we had some circumstances at 19th and albian about a house that an individual
one to buy that the neighbors felt had some historic context to it so we
brought the parties together to have a conversation and we’re almost to a point
where we believe we have a resolution and that’s exactly how you do it bring
the parties together and say what can we do so that all parties can be successful
and we’re doing that now in the city and that’s why we haven’t seen some drastic
historic battles that you see in other parts because we’re bringing the
community members together all right next up Blair Taylor I think one of the
most special parts about Park Hill is just when you drive down these big
boulevards with these amazing homes that have these really intricate
architectural elements Motte view and 17th are both on the National Historic
Register that’s really important for us as a city that we show that we value
history and culture and when we have seen the proposal of subdivision of lots
the subdivision of the Lots doesn’t add affordable housing it just adds another
1.5 million dollar house and further gentrify the neighborhoods we need to
preserve a diverse housing stock and we’re running out of open space you know
we can’t just sell it off allow development and assume that it’s going
to be for regular people regular working people because it’s not we’re we live
now in an environment when real estate regulation is that I apologize next up
is Eric Penn I have to say I really appreciate when I see developers
individuals whoever might be refurbishing the existing structures of
buildings I think it’s one of the great things that we have here
district 8 is the old airport tower that’s now a Punchbowl social I think
you see it in other parts of town but I think we can do a better job of
encouraging people to take that route rather than to tear down and rebuild I
think the city has to bolster its programs that invite people to come in
and receive services that can help before their homes fall into disrepair
before we see any forms of blight you know we can do work on those properties
and maintain them in their neighborhoods along with that we do still have to have
growth the blueprint plan right now talks about ad use across the city
part of that restore some of our historic nature it gets those carriage
homes and those granny flats back into areas where they normally are pre
previously existed and this can help address some of the housing crisis that
we’re seeing at this time but it does need to be a mix I agree it has to be a
conversation in the community people have to come together and they have to
understand what it is when we compromise the future and the past and how we can
come for the best future all right thank you
another question for our candidates from our forum partners for City Council
district 8 this time we begin with Miguel’s ceballos Ruiz here’s a question
please tell the audience about one civic project you’ve worked on that involved
meaningful community engagement real community investment and a successful
outcome for all the stakeholders involved yes of course you know I do
play a small role and I’m going to be humble about that with the construction
of the new montbello organizing committees cultural hub which is going
to be centered right here in our community and it’s going to help solve
our access our problem our lack of access to a healthy food source and that
is going to be monumental for our community and I’ve been an active member
you know from the beginning and I’m gonna see it through for sure that is
going to be transformational in the sense that we’re not going to that
southern West south western part of Montebello is no longer going to be a
food desert and so that is going to allow us to live healthier lifestyles to
make our community a whole lot more dependent on
bullying outside which is going to help with the traffic as well right and I’m
very extremely proud of those people who are leading that on behalf of the
montbello organizing committee all right thank you same question now for Patrick
Tebow one of the things I’m most proud of from my work at the state legislature
was working to create better rental protections for victims of sexual
assault and stalking it’s already so difficult for individuals to move around
as is and be be able to have the fortitude to move about our city but
just imagine what that would be like to be a person who was victimized in your
building by either your landlord or someone that you thought was your
neighbor and so I’m very proud that I was able to make sure that victims were
able to put together good safety plans for themselves in these situations and
not have to feel the financial burdens of moving around Denver Chris Herndon
thank you the the first one that comes to mind is the punchbowl social when I
was first elected in 2011 the tower had set empty for nearly 20 years and I was
determined to find an adaptable reuse for it so we created a community group
of stakeholders from all throughout Northeast Denver what do you want to see
of the beloved tower and we had brainstorm so many different ideas I
remember I went to an elementary school or the third graders had a list of what
they wanted to become and I’m sorry we couldn’t create a spy house out of it
but we had these ideas we realized we wanted something iconic we wanted
something that would bring the community together from all over the place and the
idea of Punchbowl social came up and I scheduled a meeting with Robert Thompson
the CEO of Huntsville he came into my office we talked a little bit and I just
posed the question what do you think of the tower and from that one question he
leaned back he’s like well let’s have a conversation we had another we had
another we had another and right now if you go to Central Park and MLK you have
the opportunity to have a great beautiful restaurant and meal that
reflects the great historic nature of that tower and also gives you a great
experience so that’s something I’m really proud of that we were able to
accomplish as a community thank you mr. Herndon
blair-taylor same question one of the most recent projects I worked on was the
Fairfax pocket park and what happened was that a developer came in
they bought the entire east side of Fairfax and requested from City Council
that they do a land swap of a pocket park to then move over to a sort of an
amenity in this development I take my job very seriously as a representative
and we decided that it would not be right to just have this park be given
away without the community’s voice so I and a handful of other community members
flyer the blocks surrounding the park and 28th and Fairfax and RIS brought
them in and said we need you we want to know what you think about this Park what
do you need this is for us it’s public land and you need to have a say it was
an amazing experience we had a 33 part design all right thank you
Eric it’s your turn now yeah when you hear Cherry Creek sneak or you know
taste of Colorado you can think about specific areas in the city and that is
what we are trying to do here in Montebello
so with Montebello alive which is a cultural celebration that started with
the 50th anniversary of our neighborhood we’re working with groups across the
neighborhoods to try and create that same exact feeling you know where we’re
embracing kids and the arts healthy eating and living we’re trying to bring
communities together and we’ve had our hardships you know it’s what community
is about it’s about working with one another
understanding what people’s ideas are how we can make those into realities and
where is it that we have to compromise and you know we’re dealing with that now
I want to invite everybody out in September to come to the event and see
what it is that it means to be a community to work with one another to
put your hands and get dirty have disagreements but in the end hopefully
come up with something that is what the people wanted and that represents the
community okay Lamont same question about a Civic
project so I’m the current president of City Park friends and neighbors and we
were able to successfully bring the issue of parks and open space to the
community at large I was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to save City
Park golf course even though we lost a lot
soon we were able to get galvanize the community we had many rallies we had
public events and we were able to educate the public about parks and open
space all right the next question it’s called the big three we’re gonna begin
with Patrick Tebow what are the three biggest problems facing district 8 that
you would pay immediate attention to if elected or re-elected so number one
affordable housing all income levels transportation policy that focuses on
how we move people and not just creating more lanes and creating a strong local
town pipeline for jobs from skilled trades the stems Chris Herndon certainly
I think we’re definitely recognizing the challenges of growth and we’re
addressing those problems right now with our holistic Denver right plan and to
specific small area plans that are impacting the district right now
montbello East Colfax secondly its affordability affordable housing we have
built affordable housing in every neighborhood in this district for rent
in Park Hill for homeownership and Stapleton for our seniors here in Mount
Bello and more coming along the east coast corridor and lastly it’s in our
investment in our infrastructure we’re going to need to find smarter ways to
move people out of their single occupancy vehicles so we have the bus
rapid transit come in we have additional bike lanes coming and we have sidewalks
that we’re putting throughout the city so those are the three challenges but
more importantly those are the things we are addressing right now as a city okay
Blair what are your three big three the first one would be traffic we have even
just getting over here today was a massive mess and if you can imagine if
somebody was relying on public transportation all of the stops and how
long it would actually take them to get from point A to point B so I think that
we need to do a better job ensuring that people can get where they need to go
whether that’s using local or Express bus routes and then the second thing
that would be is housing we have lost so much of our diverse housing stock in
district 8 it is almost unrecognizable you just yesterday
I was a you know one of the first slot homes that her killer will now have and
it’s not only not affordable but it doesn’t look like anything else in the
neighborhood and then the third thing would be you know I have young children
so I always think about equity and kids and safe routes to school all right Eric
Penn my first is gonna be housing I know people in this community feel it people
up here at these tables know it and thinking about when we first get in
office right now it looks like there’s gonna be an economic downturn coming up
soon so one of the first things we need to focus on along with the spectrum of
housing is on foreclosure protections we need to ensure that if that happens if
there is a downturn that we can keep people in their homes we know that
that’s cheaper than losing them and if we do in fact lose them then we need to
move those into affordable housing secondly I’m going to talk about
transportation if we’ve heard already that we know we need to move people on a
smarter easier way but we also know that it’s a small thing so our streets right
now are littered in potholes I hit one on my way here some of the
other ones you see where they’re pouring asphalt into concrete which is not a
long-term solution and so it’s about how do we actually maintain the
infrastructure that we’ve invested in and lastly it’s about safe and healthy
neighborhoods it’s about access to green space
it’s about officers using community policing it’s about people have access
to healthy groceries and living in their neighborhoods thanks
alright Lamone your turn so my big three involves social justice issues the
biggest one being homelessness seventy percent of african-american men
experience homelessness elites once in their lifetime a lot of the homeless men
you see on the streets are veterans who for whatever reason can’t access the
type of housing they need not to mention the services and the jobs that they need
the second issue is housing affordable and low-income housing are two different
things affordable you have to credit qualify
but low income Denver doesn’t really have a plan for low-income housing and
then thirdly our seniors never expected to be gentrified out of their
neighborhoods and out of their and they need protections as well from
what’s happening in our communities okay Miguel yes of course um so yeah housing
low-income housing affordable housing and particularly the displacement of our
communities right I think that isn’t just that now that we have made our
communities these desirable places to live we have no options but to leave we
really need to be helping the people who want to remain here and stop making it
and so expensive for people to remain here stop increasing the property taxes
and coming up with no creative fees the stormwater fee we also shouldn’t be
charging seniors as the conversation moves forward in pay-as-you-go trash
collection I don’t think seniors should be charged
for their trash trash service the traffic coming here is hard it is
blaring you guys joining us from Park Hill we go through this every single day
as montbello and for Northeast Denver residents is extremely hard to get to
the rest of the city and it impacts our upward mobility seriously and we really
need to address that I think that a free circulator bus to get us onto the a line
down to the bus rapid transit should be the conversation we should be having on
community right now all right our next question the big audacious goal we’re
gonna begin with Chris what is your big audacious goal for the district date in
the next four years it’s the continue to continue the plans
that we’re doing if you think about all the challenges I didn’t have the
opportunity to talk about homelessness district 8 has created hundreds of beds
for our homeless individuals and specialized for the different segments
150 beds for women with Catholic Charities 228 beds for men through
Denver rescue mission and the emergency shelter is in district 8 as well so I
haven’t had the opportunity to talk about homelessness so I’ll use it for
this particular example and a lot of our homeless work so it’s about creating
more affordable housing that we’re doing throughout the entire area so my big
audacious goal is that continues to support our most vulnerable and that’s
through more beds for those experiencing homelessness more services and increase
in our affordable housing stock in district 8 okay Blair I have a lot of
big goals for district 8 I think one of them is just
a basic principle of ensuring that the people who live in district 8 know
what’s going on we end up for the most part hearing what plans are happening in
the city and we need to ensure that because it’s such a largest such a large
district that you have the information first if there are plans coming down the
pipeline then you should hear them and you should have a say in what happens so
how do we conquer something like that one way would be to have satellite city
council offices in each neighborhood so you have a specific contact who
understands your neighborhood and what your needs are you know a lot of times
calling two three one one you may forget about whatever you’ve called I’ve called
about and the issue and you maybe not aren’t going to follow up because you
don’t want to sit on three one one for a long time so having somebody that you
could talk to regularly who understands and has these information all right
thank you Eric you’re up next yeah you know I think it’s strange the
dish’s plan would be about connecting with in neighborhoods I’m so open by
saying in our first hundred days I intend to pull all the 3-1-1 data from
our district to understand what our community has been telling the city they
want to see and how we can respond to it and I continue I would intend to
continue that process so people understand that their calls aren’t just
going to one area I’m being fixed that they’re coming to your city
councilperson and we’re gonna follow up on those I also think that when we’re
talking about transportation I think it’s not too audacious to say if the
city is going to have its own metro transit district that we need Rapid
Transit that runs every ten minutes within a ten minute walk of every house
that seems like a pretty good plan to me and I hope that we can get there in the
next four years district 8 has a lot of arterial roads that we can run buses up
and down and when we’re talking about availability I think it’s there we just
have to make that push and ensure that we get that kind of investment here in
district 8 okay the mom I think our seniors deserve some attention number
one there are active voters number two they know the community and so I think
increasing senior support services on our community a lot of our seniors are
veterans they’re federal government employees they’re teachers
they’re professional folks so I think they need our time and our attention to
make things nice for them as they go into the retirement ok Miguel the
transformation that I want to see is I don’t want people to have to take the
hard decision of leaving our communities I want them to be able to grow here and
set roots here and their children to be able to grow and set roots here and I
really want to start attacking the systems that we the structures that we
have in place that provide an equities for us when we start looking around as
to who has and who doesn’t have usually those who don’t have just happens to be
people of color why is that that’s by design how do we attack that at the City
Council level I really feel that we have to get serious about this social justice
issues right and I also want to be mindful that we have to have
environmental protections as we move forward to the huge construction project
of i-70 they’re going to be digging up Superfund sites how is the city gonna
protect us from breathing in those harmful carcinogens we really have to be
serious about that thank you and finally Patrick to finally bring a real solution
to Quebec I think that that’s one of the biggest things that has been kicked down
the road for a number of years throughout the throughout the district
and especially district 8 we’ve had a study to have a study to have a study
and we’re wasting your taxpayer money and the longer we wait there the more
we’re pricing ourselves out of real solutions for Quebec Quebec Street all
right you guys ready for the lightning round can we handle it ok this is where
our candidates are gonna be asked several quick questions and they can
only answer with a yes/no or pass no expanding yes/no or pass ok so we’re
going to return to ballot order and begin with mr. Herndon and go down
the line okay so do you get your news from a traditional newspaper that is one
imprinted on paper yes no no yes no yes should the city promote the use of
taxpayer money to put a dome on Mile High Stadium
in order to attract the Super Bowl or other big sporting events to Denver no
no no no no no no don’t have you ever missed the opportunity to vote in a
local regional or national election no never
yes I have no no yes should Larimer Square undergo major
remodeling to allow for new high-rises and the possible demolition of some of
the historic buildings no no no no no no have you ever attended the national
Western Stock Show yes yes yes yes no yes no there’s nothing to be ashamed of
here all right in the last 30 days have you
used mass transit a bike or walked for business purposes or to get to work no
yes just today yes no yes yes if elected or re-elected will you introduce an
ordinance barring fracking in Denver no yes yes yes yes yes
do you or any family member Oh own a licensed firearm yes no no no no no
have you attended your neighborhood association meeting in the last six
months yes yes yes yes yes yes in the five years since it was legalized have
you personally tried any of the various products offered by recreational
marijuana stores no yes yes I bet not no no should the city of Denver create a
mechanism that would hold the mayor more accountable yes yes yes yes yes yes all
right do you see a new political party forming in Denver around anti-growth No no I don’t think so
no no no okay that wasn’t a trick question okay our
final question if you were not running for office is there someone sitting at
the table that you’d vote for Pass yes yes yes yes yes should we have them
reveal it is they handled the pressure beautifully all right so now we’re gonna
do some one-on-one questions it’s a chance for the candidates to you know
pose questions to each other so you can select an opponent ask them a question
and they will have one minute to respond so we’re gonna begin with Chris you can
ask your opponents a question and whoever he chooses has one minute to
answer I’ll ask Lamont
if you would give your thoughts on initiative 300 the right to rests mainly because the
issue of homelessness has been on the table
the Denver road home was supposed to be an answer it was a ten year program
where the city collected meter money to fund the program and then after mayor
Hancock was elected that program just kind of went away so until we have a
solution to homelessness it should be in our faces every day okay Patrick you can
ask a question councilman Herndon in the past four years you’ve voted you’ve
approved 338 acres of suburban subdivided Platts in district 8 alone in
a time where medium dense development coupled with the ability to have
walkable amenities and also fixed transit do those votes support the
efforts to create better grocery options in montbello or the redevelopment of
East Colfax so every vote that I do I believe supports creating more resources
to our city the biggest vote I think was encouraging everyone to support our bond
initiative so when we’re doing that we’re making investments in our city
working with the montbello organizing committee about having a grocer here in
the ma bellow community and the dollars that our city have invested so every
decision every vote that I make believes moves us to better resources better
equity and better services in the district ok Miguel you may ask a
question yes I wanted to ask blair-taylor why do you oppose
overturning the camping ban in Denver I oppose it because my concerns are around
solutions and it doesn’t provide real solutions we need housing we need
funding and the funding that has gone towards the opposition of 300 should
have put been put back right into surface providers the day after the
homeless Leadership Council put out their statement I was at st. Francis
Center talking to Tom lawyers about how they felt what did they need and they
told me that they want to expand their services and this doesn’t provide
solutions we don’t need any more band-aids
we need progress we need answers and we need to move forward and that’s and
that’s fine ok Lamone you may ask a question
councilman Herndon the Fairfax Park issue is kind of
controversial particularly because the developer had informed you that he was
of his intentions that were not shared with the community until after the plans
were laid out with Community Planning if you had to do over again how would you
approach that interaction with the community differently well I would first
say I don’t believe that that was controversial I had to go through my
emails regarding the twenty ninth and Fairfax operation because someone
submitted a Colorado opens request stack and I realized that the community
members were in support of that three to one
and courts of the land swap but I will also say when the I was first approached
by HM capital in their interest in doing a land swap that was in September of
2016 and I encouraged them to reach out to parks and recs as the landowner and
then also let’s make sure you report back to the community
it was either January or February of 2017 when they were at the Greater Park
Hill meeting talking to the community about the proposed land swap so one I
know from my responses from getting the impact from the community that it was
something that they were in support of and they did come to the rno to make
sure that the community members were aware of it and to gets their thoughts
on it throughout the process hmm okay Eric you have a question yeah
this is a question for Chris so there have been a lot of accusations some of
them seeming more founded recently with news articles are out the city doing
business with bad actors and so my question is I’ve heard from La Union
members and you know this ranges from not collecting the appropriate amount of
taxes to allowing contractors business opportunities that they possibly
shouldn’t have guyun including wage theft how is it that you what would you
say the city is doing well and what can the city do better and why has the city
not made those steps currently well I got to give credit to auditor O’Brien
for that is his role in when seeing when workers aren’t paid the appropriate
amounts and when he does inaud it and he make recommendations that we as a city
can make a difference in our rules and ordinance that’s something we absolutely
take into account and do so I believe that we are doing a good job when we
realized as a city hey there are some things that
doing better and we’ll make sure that we do that Blair do you have a question yes
I’m going to ask my question to Eric currently there are no regulations or
policies about developer or lobbyist donations to City Council
especially during rezoning processes do you think that we need some regulations
surrounding this and what would that look like
or why yeah I’m a firm supporter in 2e that just passed recently about campaign
finance reform and so I truly believe that we need to get big money and dark
money out of our elections I would look closer into what that fully will entail
when it comes to lobbyists and future for donations especially when they’re
timed but I’m a fan of any effort that we can help get big money out of the
voice and we can get more of our constituents and the residents voices
involved in politics alright once again the candidates are going to have another
opportunity to ask each other questions and we’re gonna go in ballot order so
we’re gonna start with Kris if you have another question for someone Oh another
question yes if you have a question for someone for an opponent okay
I’ll certainly I want to continue the conversation about 300 because I think
that that’s really important the thing the issue I love to get Patrick thought
on initiative 300 I’m voting in favor of initiative 300 and here’s why and so the
opposition campaign slogan is because we can do better
well I’m voting in favor of 300 because we haven’t done better as a council they
aggressively work to put the camping ordinance on the books and now we’re
leaving it up to voice of the people to make sure if we want to repeal it that’s
cowardice legislative action and not allowing or not really making sure that
you’re able to make sure that that you’re standing up for the folks in your
community I would rather see it costs $100 a day to house an end
in City Jail I would rather see your taxpayer dollars going to make sure that
we’re creating actually creating better temporary permanent supportive housing
for our underserved populations and not going to empower our city jails all
right and Patrick you now have an opportunity to ask a question if you
like Chris please tell us your stance on 300 thank you initiative 300 doesn’t put
one person in a house the solution to homelessness is to create housing and
that’s what we’re doing in district 8 as I talked about in every neighborhood in
district 8 housing is coming but that doesn’t even talk about the affordable
housing fund to make sure that we’re supporting the nonprofit developers
three hundred million dollars over ten years having the dollars in place the
creation of the Legal Defense Fund to help those if you have an issue with
your landlord and you need services to see the city is creating a legal defense
for you to be able if you can’t afford it that’s how we help people get out of
homelessness 300 doesn’t do that it makes our parks more vulnerable and
makes our rightaway more vulnerable and that’s why I’m voting against it Miguel
do you have a question yes I have a question for Chris you know in this age
of Donald Trump the Latino community and the immigrant community have really
received a lot of hate one of the things that the city of Denver did was pass a
bill for which you were absent and then a second bill in which 200,000 dollars
were allocated to the legal protection of immigrants why were you against that
initiative so simply because I was not president doesn’t mean I was absent we
actually vote on bills twice you don’t first reading for publication vote and
so on first reading I did vote in support of those and I also talked about
as a city we’ve done numerous things to the Trump administration even this week
for example the mayor sent a letter to attorney general Barr about those in the
immigrant community if you work in the marijuana industry which is a legal
industry here in our state the Trump administration is considering to take
away their legal status and the mayor sent a letter to the district attorney
bar saying that is not something that we support and though the mayor didn’t ask
counsel for their opinion that is absolutely something that why did you
vote against a two hundred thousand dollar legal defense fund
one question now what’s the question all right go ahead give you Chris well when
I was absent you can’t vote if you’re absent but we vote for bills twice and
so first reading for publication that was there there’s not a bill that
support our immigrant community that I voted against all right lemon do you
have a question um I have a question for Blair so by me growing up in Park Hill I
grew up around diverse populations and the diversity is starting to go away in
Park Hill and in montbello so what type of neighborhood that you grew up in in
terms of diversity I grew up all over the country actually it was born in
California then my parents moved to Montana my father passed away we moved
to New York where my mother’s family was from I went to college in Georgia and
then I moved back to New York and then back and then to Colorado so I grew up
kind of a little bit of a latchkey kid and I think that’s why I value community
because I think of it as my family and I want to be your best representative and
I want to make sure that you have what you need because at the end of the day I
need you just as much as you need me and I am willing to work very hard for
you I will work til the end of the days my phone is always on and that’s that’s
who I am Eric do you have a question yeah this question is for Patrick so I’m
curious Patrick if you could only serve on one committee on city council what
would that be and how would that affect your priorities for your term so right
now I’m trying to it’s almost like trying to pick between which kid which
kid I like most but I would like to serve
on housing and homelessness so we can delve deeper into actually creating
solutions for issues like initiative 300 and actually see good solutions move
through the legislative process okay Blair do you have a question um I’m
going to ask Lamone so City Council voted themselves a raise on the third
day of the teacher strike if they hadn’t done that where do you think that money
should go and why that money I believe should go into a community fund maybe
for the rnos so they can do more outreach have more meetings and and
public events where they’re educating the community about what they do alright
that brings us to the end of our Q&A segments and we’re now going to move to
closing statements all right each candidate will have one minute for a
closing statement and we’re gonna do reverse order from the opening
statements which means we will begin with Blair Taylor you have one minute
for a closing statement so thank you again so much for having me the mayor
and city council really set the tone of our city right now we’ve had a lot of
development and our infrastructure our open space our schools have not kept
pace it is time to elect new leaders we’ve had the same leaders for eight
years and now we need new new people who have worked on the ground I believe if
you have not fought for your community on their needs then you cannot lead them
into their next best their next best stage of life I have worked on
affordable housing at 34th and albion I have advocated for a truly public pocket
park at 28th and Fairfax and right now I’m working on my second round of safe
routes to school this is all as a resident we should not have to work this
hard for our neighborhoods we need representatives who are work for us who
will give us whatever we need and the risk
sources I’ll write a closing statement now from Eric pen you have one minute
thank you and thank everyone for being here
we’re not get involved in the community it’s for one thing it’s for the people
and we have a thing in Social Work we have about two two tenants I want to
talk about one is about creating space for the community to solve their
problems and the other is about putting yourself out of work right hopefully we
don’t need social workers but unfortunately we do and so these are the
things that drive me in the work that I do in the community it’s about how do we
create space for the community to solve the problems that they’re facing
we don’t need solutions from other areas because we know what we’re dealing with
we know how we need to solve it and what we need is the opportunity that
resources the funding and attention necessary to allow the community to
solve those problems so that is why I am running for City Council is to help
create that space for you for the communities for the rnos for all the
residents to live in a city that you want to live in for the future forward
so I ask for your vote on May 7th you can find more of my information on my
website Penn for Denver and thank you again for being here now a closing
statement from Lamone Knowles well thank you for listening to us tonight this is
a very good forum I think this is an exciting time in spite of the challenges
that we face the fact that we had 63 community members step up to the plate
to run for office City why to me is really exciting watching the debates
hearing with the different perspectives indicates that there’s a lot of
community interest in what’s going on in the city so I would like to continue
that momentum when you vote for me for City Council thank you ok Miguel
ceballos Ruiz you have one minute thank you thank you for listening to me today
my name is Miguel Ceballos Reese and I’m running for Denver City Council District
eight right now in Denver we’re experiencing a time of extraordinary
growth and wealth yet it seems to be that those of us who are working every
single day to get our families by are not being raised in the same way that
other other residents are we’ve been left behind it seems at some points that
our boats are anchored to the bedrock is this really as good as it gets for
working families in Denver I don’t believe so and I really believe
we need new bold leadership that will take Denver in that direction I really
want to concentrate on helping find solutions for displacement right I think
it isn’t just that people are being displaced out of our communities and
that is why I’m running for Denver City Council Miguel for Denver comm and thank
you so much for your time this evening Patrick Tebow thanks again everybody for
coming out this evening one of the the biggest steps in the legislative process
is showing up and you all have taken that big first step before I ever came
to ask all of you for your vote my community work has been asking the
question are you registered to vote did you get your ballot in can you come to
this community meeting on Saturday and talk about the important issues but in
addition to that community work I’ve already been working at the state level
on the important policy discussions that we’re having statewide that Denver is
trying to adopt and create models for I have the community passion experience in
history but I also have the political skills to get to work day one and that’s
why I’d be honored to have your support this May 7 thank you very much okay
Chris Herndon thank you so much for this opportunity to speak with you and share
our ideas it is about service we recognize the challenges that Denver are
facing and we are tackling them head-on affordability affordable units
throughout the entire city sustainability expanding of composting
infrastructure bus rapid transit sidewalks bike lanes coming to our
community right now I ask for your vote so that we can continue the good work
that is moving forward I’m a veteran I know what it means to serve I have been
serving my entire adult life district date is my community I live in Stapleton
my church home is in montbello my sister-in-law lives in these Colfax my
daughter went to school in Park Hill when I’m thinking about district 8 this
is my community it is Who I am I’m asking for your vote it would be an
honor to serve you for four more years hernán for Denver comm thank you so much
thank you candidates and to our fabulously quiet audience now it’s your
chance to make some noise for your fan thank you to all of you for being a part
of this process it’s great to see such a big crowded room out there and also
thanks to our Denver des cités partners which include in turn a burr hood
cooperation the League of Women Voters of Denver historic Denver and Denver
decides is presented by Denver atetv we hope we’ve given you a fair look at each
candidate vying to represent Denver residents living in Council District
eight for complete election information online go to Denver decides calm I’m
Wendy Brockman thanks for watching

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