Denver voters will be tasked in November this year to determine the most citizen-initiated measures that will appear on the city’s ballots in at least 20 years, covering topics ranging from land conservation and epidemic research to homelessness.
Before the deadline this week, the City Council approved six citizen-led measures and two other measures proposed by city officials and five other measures proposed by Mayor Michael Hancock, which constitute a 450 million yuan U.S. dollar bond proposal.
Alton Dillard, a spokesperson for the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office, said that in this year’s polls, citizens initiated more laws than any other laws he could date back to 2001 or even further. He said that there are usually one to three elections at a time.
He said that the clerk’s office will mail the ballot on October 8, and the city’s 24-hour ballot box will be open for return on the same day. The city’s blue book explains each measure and will even be mailed to voters before then.
Although the votes are full, Dillard said voters can take their time because they will have weeks to carefully review each proposal before voting.
Dillard said: “Denver voters need to be happy that they have a model that makes it easier for people to vote.”
Denver’s November vote will start with Hancock’s five bond proposals, each of which must be approved by voters before the city can borrow money, and introduce activated statutes:
Reference question 2A (Denver Facility System Bond): $104 million for Denver facility projects, such as the Denver Botanical Garden, Denver Museum of Natural Science, Bonfils Theater, and Denver Zoo repairs and improvements; two new libraries; renovation of all youth empowerment centers in the city; and urban architecture Accessibility upgrade.
Reference question 2B (Denver Housing and Shelter System Bond): US$38.6 million was spent on housing and shelter projects, such as building or renovating shelters for the homeless. City officials can also use the money to purchase buildings or transform them into shelters.
Reference question 2C (Denver Transportation and Mobility System Bond): US$63.3 million was spent on transportation projects, such as expanding the sidewalks in Denver; renovating existing bike lanes and adding new bike lanes; rebuilding the extension of the Morrison Road corridor to add a cultural and artistic district; and building an urban trail in the city center .
Reference question 2D (Denver Parks and Recreation System Bond): US$54 million was spent on park projects in the northeast and south of Denver; restoration of sports fields and playgrounds; replacement of playgrounds and entertainment equipment; and reconstruction of the Mestizo-Curtis park swimming pool.
Reference question 2E (National West Campus Facilities System Bond): US$190 million was used to build a new arena and refurbish the existing 1909 building on the central campus of the country’s west.
Refer to question 2F (Safe and sound): When the Denver City Council approved the city’s new collective living rules in February, allowing up to five unrelated people to live in a single home, the safe and healthy Denver opposed the move. Now, the organization asks voters to abolish the council’s decision. A vote to repeal the change in collective living will also overturn the city council’s decision to expand the number of land available for halfway houses in the city, which was previously only allowed in industrial areas.
Reference question 2G (filling the future vacancy of the independent ombudsman): The Office of the Independent Ombudsman is responsible for overseeing all disciplinary investigations of the Denver Police and Sheriff’s Departments, recommending policy changes and investigating other incidents, such as how the police handled the George Floyd protests in 2020. The post is currently appointed by the mayor, but on the contrary, the measure will place the appointment in the hands of the Voluntary Citizens Oversight Committee.
Reference question 2H (change of election day): Proposed by Denver clerk and recorder Paul Lopez, the measure will advance the city’s general election from the first Tuesday in May of odd-numbered years to the first Tuesday in April. This move will give the clerical office more time to send mail-in ballots to people traveling or living abroad, just in case of a runoff in June.
Initiation of Regulation 300 (Epidemiological Research Fund): This measure will increase the local cannabis sales tax in Denver from 10.3% to 11.8% Raises about 7 million U.S. dollars each year The University of Colorado Denver City Center, the university has partnerships with the city and local businesses. The money will be used to research technologies and other preparation and recovery methods that can be used to protect people during the pandemic. Three-quarters of the funds will be used to research personal protective equipment, disinfection and sterilization technologies, and design features of physical spaces. The remaining quarters will be dedicated to research on public policy and planning. Of the tax increase proceeds, no more than 8% shall be used for administrative expenses.
Initiation of Regulation No. 301 (Parks and open spaces): This will require voter approval before any commercial or housing construction can begin on any park or city-owned land covered by the conservation easement. This will include the 155-acre Park Hill Golf Course property, which Westside Investment Partners developers and owners hope to build.
Initiated Regulation No. 302 (Protected easement): Countermeasures for parks and open space measures. The measure, proposed by Westside Investment Partners, will modify the definition of “protected easement” so that it only applies to those reviewed and approved by the State Department of Protection. This will effectively allow the development of the Park Hill golf course property currently covered by easements.
Initiated Regulation No. 303 (Let us do better): The measure proposed by Denver Republican Party Chairman Garrett Flicker will prohibit anyone from camping on private property without written permission from the owner. It also allows approved campsites in up to four locations on public property, requiring convenient facilities such as running water, toilets, and lighting. The measure will require city officials to enforce the camping ban within three days of receiving the complaint and allow people to sue the city if they fail to clean the camp.
Initiation of Regulation No. 304 (Already have enough tax): Flicker also proposed that this measure will make Denver’s total sales and use tax rate cap at 4.5%, lower than the current 4.81%. If voters approve new sales and use taxes above the 4.5% cap, it will also ask the city to reduce any other new sales and use taxes.