WHERE I STAND ON THE ISSUES
Business owners with properties along Federal Boulevard and residents
in the neighborhoods adjacent to Federal need relief from the
negative impacts of cruising.
Every weekend, particularly when the weather is mild, business
owners feel a negative financial impact as customers stay away
because Federal is bumper-to-bumper with vehicles and kids. Customers
either are too intimidated by the atmosphere and congestion to
attempt to visit businesses along Federal or, as in the case
of Cinco de Mayo weekend, even may be physically prohibited from
doing so by police barricades errected to control the miles and
miles of cruising traffic and provide an open center lane for
Neighborhood residents also are subjected to impacts which adversely
affect their quality of life and infringe on enjoyment of their
properties. They experience sickeningly high levels of exhaust
fumes; continuous noise from loud, thumping stereos, blaring
horns and vehicle engines; trashed out yards; ruined flowers,
shrubs, and trees; and the occasional indignity of having their
yards used as a toilet, a fight scene or a hookup location. Even
trying to get in or out of the neighborhood can be a frustrating
experience for area residents when they have to show a driver’s
license at a police barricade or drive blocks out of their way
to gain access to their own residential street.
It’s time the city stopped condoning it and adopted an
ordinance making cruising illegal in Denver.
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I’ve been working on graffiti issues since
1991 and currently serve on the Graffiti Task Force's abatement
immediate area around my home constantly gets tagged. Garages,
schools, street signs, fences, dumpsters, and retaining walls
are tagged more often than they are graffiti-free. Some believe
graffiti is a property crime and, therefore, a victimless crime.
I disagree. The response necessary to clean up graffiti carries
an economic, physical, and psychological burden that becomes
overwhelming after even one attack.
Graffiti vandalism requires the redirection of limited time
and resources away from property improvements and creates unacceptable
blight. Property owners who are repeatedly victimized develop
an understandable feeling of futility. However, we must not
the negative messages of unremoved graffiti to remain in the
community. We must do what it takes to remove the blight.
There are so many positive ways for our community
to spend time and resources to benefit and enhance the lives
of our citizens— think
how many more hours and days our libraries and recreation centers
could stay open and be more adequately staffed if we
weren’t forced to squander our resources on cleaning up
Because graffiti vandalism is increasing and
spreading into ever larger areas of our community, I believe
we must develop
very punitive consequences until the thrill is gone—replaced
by penalties more painful than the thrill is exhilarating.
It’s unfortunate, but necessary until this senseless destruction
The Mayor has committed to a graffiti-free Denver
in three years. The Graffiti Task Force that began work on
will make recommendations this spring. I hope many of the recommendations
rejected in graffiti ordinances of the mid-90’s will
find their way to policy now, including:
As a grandchild of
immigrants from Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Italy, I embrace
past and present waves of legal immigration. I am proud to live
in a country that welcomes over a million legal immigrants every
year. I believe the diversity in our "melting pot" has
made the United States of America strong and creative.
I admire the way so
many immigrants have preserved their homelands' culture
language through activities in churches, synagogues, private
schools, and cultural centers. I do not believe there is a role for
government in these activities. Just as we have a separation
church and state, which protects our rights to practice whatever
religion we choose while not imposing it on others; I believe
we also should have a separation of culture and state. This ensures
that all cultures exist, side by side, with tolerance
and mutual respect.
communication is the key to peace—be it peace in the family,
community, country, or world. Trouble always starts with dishonest
or a lack of communication. In the United
States, our common language, English, is essential to
our staying a united people. Multi-lingual skills are to be admired
praised. However, I believe government and education, outside of
foreign language classes, should be conducted in English.
As a child, I lived in
Germany for three years. I lived in a bubble community that
insulated me from a necessity to learn the German language. In
school, we had German lessons and I learned a few words and phrases,
however, I did not become fluent in the language. Because of this
experience, I strongly believe that immigrant students attending our
public schools should be in immersion language classrooms.
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How do we frame the
conversation about the issue of illegal immigration in a
constructive manner? How do we separate a compelling individual
story from failed public policy and the good of the
I believe massive
illegal immigration into this country is a travesty of social
economic justice. The rich are getting richer, the middle class is
shrinking, the poor are getting poorer and, worst of all, we
creating a shadow community of unprotected, underpaid workers who
have an unequal role in the society in which they live. I believe
this is un-American and immoral.
I ask that
proponents of open borders and another amnesty take a close look
at our own country's poor and underprivileged—travel to the back
hills of Appalachia, the rural deep south, or any American
reservation. As evidenced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,
many of our urban poor are also living in dire conditions. We
much work to do here in our own country to bring up the standard
of living and opportunity for our own forgotten poor.
After eight failed
amnesty programs, I do not support a ninth. Amnesty
to be failed public policy. I have come to believe the
economic pull to attain an American job must end with
employer sanctions and a fraud-free employee verification system.
I would like to see the millions of illegal immigrants in our
take what's best about the way things work in the United States
and go home to start businesses, run schools and towns, and
change their culture and economies
for the better.
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OVERCROWDING AND TOO MANY CARS
many of Denver’s neighborhoods, residents are confronting
a high-impact and troubling phenomenon which forces them to put
aside the great American credo of ‘live and let live.’ The
phenomenon? Over-crowding and too many cars connected with a single
the scenario starts with an ownership change of what was a quiet,
well-maintained single family home.
The new neighbors
don’t look like the typical nuclear family unit- mom, dad,
and a of couple kids. Instead, the new ‘family’ is
a conglomeration of multiple mom-dad-kid units with aunts, uncles,
cousins and their kids plus a grandparent or two also thrown into
the mix, the stereotypical 'extended family' of old. Also typical
to the scenario, every person of driving age in the household has
a car. In fact, typically so many cars now are associated with
the house that parking them all on, or directly in front of, the
property is impossible. And here the usual ’live and let
live’ credo of neighbors dies a swift death as the activities
of all the people, kids and cars negatively impacts the rest of
the residents on the block.
The negative impact usually include over-flowing dumpsters, neighbors
who can no longer park in front of their own homes, and lots
of disruptive noise and activity. In severe cases, impacts also
include neglected, trashy yards; outdoor storage of furniture
and junk; yards used as bathrooms or parking lots; the mischief
unsupervised children and neglected animals; drug and gang activity;
and impacts from business uses like car repair or retail food
production. Whatever the combination of impacts, they’re hard to ignore
and change the ability of everyone else on the block to live in
peace and quiet.
Over the years, I’ve been looking into viable solutions to
the problem of over-crowded homes. City and federal representatives
always point to the definition of family as the sticking point
to limiting the number of people in a home. However, ordinances
on the books currently limit the number of roommates in a 'one-family
residence'- ordinances designed to address similar issues for neighborhoods
near colleges and universities. It is common sense that we now
address this latest housing phenomenon which has moved into and
negatively is impacting other parts of our community.
I believe Denver’s method of calculating the square footage
needed per person and the ratio of autos to a home is outdated.
Current Denver law reads, nine people legally can reside in a 1,000
square-foot house. You need 150 square feet for the first person
and 100 square feet for each additional resident. One thousand
square feet minus 150 equals 850 square feet. One plus eight equals
nine people. Never mind there may be only one or two tiny bedrooms
and one bathroom in a house that size. The other part of the law
creating a problem is how the number of cars per household is calculated.
The law reads one car per licensed driver plus one for the household.
So, in our 1,000 square-foot home example, if all the people are
licensed drivers, legally ten cars could be registered at that
If elected, I would like to re-examine and update Denver’s
ordinances surrounding the issue of over-crowded homes and the
number of cars per household.
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