What I've Been Working On

Community Engagement

It is in the city’s best interest to not only inform, but to engage residents in the creation of the policies and programs that government implements.

  • 2015-present: Regularly attend all Registered Neighborhood Group events to which I am invited. In the rare occasion I am unable to attend, my aides stand in to field important questions and concerns. I’ve helped several District RNOs restructure in difficult times so they can continue to serve neighbors.
  • 2016-19: My first formal action as Councilman was to gather support from my colleagues for a regularly scheduled 30-min. open Public Comment session before the first Monday night meeting of the full City Council each month. Eighteen months later I successfully proposed expanding it to twice monthly and in June of 2020 it was decided to move to weekly Public Comment and to televise the sessions. Several hundred residents have taken advantage of the opportunity to address Council.
  • 2020-present: Working with the administration and Registered Neighborhood Organizations to strengthen our RNOS, and improve the way city government engages residents in the development of city policies, programs and processes, with the goal of establishing an Office of Community Engagement. I was able to secure a $75,000 budget allocation in the 2022 budget for a study of best practices from other cities to guide the discussion moving forward.

 

Mobility

As Denver continues to grow, it is imperative that we craft a multi-modal transportation system so residents and visitors can safely traverse our city as pedestrians, cyclists, motorists or mass transit riders.

  • 2015-present: Worked with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to engineer traffic solutions throughout the District. Stop signs to slow cut-through traffic around Ash Grove Park in Virginia Village; stop signs and traffic islands on Bonnie Brae Blvd.; a comprehensive Safe Routes to School program in Cory-Merrill; parking and traffic control around Stephen Knight Elementary across from the Belcaro neighborhood; signal reconstruction along Louisiana Ave. by South High School; and signal reconstruction along S. Downing St. along virtually the entire western border of the district, to name a few.
  • 2016-present: Serve as Chair of Council’s Sidewalks Working Group, changing how Denver views pedestrian infrastructure. Historic funding levels have been directed toward sidewalk improvement across the city, including annual General Fund allocations and General Obligation Bond funding. In spring of 2022, the Dept of Transportation and Infrastructure will begin a new sidewalk repair program that more efficiently evaluates the need for sidewalk repair citywide, and provides funding for those repairs.
  • 2017-present: Designed, printed and distributed hundreds of DRIVE 25! yard signs, urging drivers to observe the speed limit on local streets.
  • 2019: Partnered with CW Susman to pass a bill regulating the use of electric scooters in the city, directing them off the sidewalk wherever possible.
  • 2018-21: Lead annual amendments to the city budget to increase Denver’s investment in the Safe Routes to Schools program, increasing safe passage for kids and families.
  • 2019: Worked with Denver and Arapahoe County to complete a study of traffic around the Indian Creek community east of Quebec St. at Florida Ave., to address concerns in that area. Construction of solutions is expected to begin later this year.
  • 2021: Secured a $350,000 budget allocation to fund a study of speed limits on Denver streets. The study results supported an ordinance I sponsored lowering speeds on neighborhood streets from 25mph to 20mph.

 

Public Safety

It is a prime directive of government at all levels to maintain safe conditions in the community. I have been a consistent supporter of budget requests from our safety agencies, while emphasizing the importance of increased and equitable investment in housing, education, food access and mental health services that address the root causes that often lead to criminal activity. Public health is a major element of public safety.

  • 2016-present: Donate money annually from the District budget to the District 3 Police to fund a variety of safety-related projects they request.
  • 2018-present: Chairman of City Council’s Safety Committee, considering issues related to Safety, Education, Health, Housing and Homelessness.
  • 2019: Partnered with Councilmembers Lopez and Kniech to enshrine the Office of the Independent Monitor, that oversees the Departments of Safety – Police, Fire and Sheriff – in the City Charter.
  • 2019: Sponsored an ordinance guaranteeing that insurance benefits will continue for one year for the family of any officer killed in the line of duty. At the urging of our Human Resources office, we extended that benefit to any City of Denver employee lost in service to the city.
  • 2021: Worked with Denver Police Department to acquire a new bicycle licensing software that will deter bicycle theft, make it easier to get bikes back to their owners when recovered, and assist DPD in solving other related crimes.

 

Human Rights / Civil Rights

It is imperative that the successes and challenges of our city be experienced equitably by all residents. Our tree canopy, sidewalk infrastructure and other amenities should not benefit one zip code at the expense of another.

  • 2015-present: Have been a vocal advocate for increasing our inventory of affordable housing to those at low and middle income levels, and secured affordable elements at both former Colorado Department of Transportation sites in the Virginia Village neighborhood. I’ve asked our Office of Community Planning and Development to be more aggressive in negotiations with developers.
  • 2016: Partnered with Councilwoman Gilmore to author a proclamation of support for immigrant/refugee families, and supported creation of the legal defense for those facing deportation.
  • 2017-present: While speaking forcefully in opposition to the expansion of I-70 through the Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods, largely populated by people of color, I worked with colleagues to increase the scope of mitigation efforts to increase protections from the effects of construction and traffic for the residents of more than 300 homes living closest to the highway.
  • 2018-present: Aggressively advocated on behalf of the Office of The Public Defender to finally get office space, staffing and salaries at similar levels to the prosecutors in the City Attorney’s Office.
  • 2018: Authored a proclamation drawing attention to Colorado’s history of lynchings and facilitated installation of a memorial to the victims at Creekside Park, in downtown.
  • 2020: Sponsored an ordinance to license massage parlors to provide law enforcement with a needed tool to address human trafficking.

 

Historic Preservation

I agree with John Murtaugh, who said, “At its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.” While I support progress and diversity as our city evolves, I am committed to honoring critical elements of our past that have contributed to the essence of who we have become.

  • 2015-present: Supported numerous historic designations across our city.
  • 2016: Facilitated creation of a Conservation Overlay District for 176 mid-century modern homes in the Krisana Park section of Virginia Village.
  • 2018: Facilitated creation of an Historic District for 6 classic Vassar School Bungalows in the Rosedale/Harvard Gulch community.

 

Housing

  • While a supporter of Accessory Dwelling Units as a way to increase affordable housing, I have urged our office of Community Planning and Development to provide adequate setbacks for ADUs in neighborhoods without alleys (which ordinance does not currently provide), and to develop an option for ADU approval that would drastically limit or eliminate the short term rental usage.
  • 2019: Sponsored a successful rezoning of 1100 homes in University Park to remove the long house form so as to increase sunlight and privacy in neighboring back yards.

 

Environment

  • 2018: Partnered with Councilman Clark as an active participant in discussions resulting in the creation of a sales tax to fund measures to lessen Denver’s carbon footprint, as well as the creation of the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency.
  • 2019: Authored a focus-shifting inclusion to the 2019 rewrite of Blueprint Denver, our primary land use and transportation plan, stating that “The science is clear, our planet is facing a global crisis attributed largely to human behavior that is changing climate patterns around the world. This environmental emergency threatens to alter our normal landscape limiting where we can live, where we can grow our food and how we are able to access natural resources. As we look to our future we recognize that reversing our contribution to climate change is critical. How we plan our city can help us reduce our drain on resources and reduce Denver’s carbon footprint to eliminate our collective contribution to the climate change crisis. That commitment must be our over-arching guide.”
  • 2021: Currently working with Councilwoman Black and our City Forester, Mike Swanson, on improvements to Denver’s tree preservation ordinance.

 

Parks

  • 2015-present: An active supporter of Denver’s Mountain Parks system, ensuring adequate funding for critical maintenance and expansion.
  • 2021: Urging expansion of our Sister City program that facilitates park exchange programs with cities across the globe. District 6 has Sister City parks honoring: Kun Ming, China; Potenza, Italy; and Chennai, India.
  • 2015-present: I helped secure new playgrounds and other improvements at Ash Grove Park and Washington Park, and tennis court upgrades at Observatory Park. General Obligation Bond funding is secured for a new playground at Potenza Park as well as trail and other improvements at Cook Park. I have secured commitments from Denver Parks and Recreation for additional improvements at Potenza and City of Chennai Parks.
  • 2018: I formed a coalition of agencies and supporters that led to the renovation of Harvard Gulch Trail from Jackson St. to University Blvd., and am working to see it continue across University.

 

Misc. Policy

  • 2015-present: I have been a consistent voice for improved conditions in our shelters for those experiencing homelessness in an effort to eliminate camping on our streets. I pushed to ensure that the men’s shelter on 48th Ave. opened with beds for all clients rather than mats on the ground.
  • 2017: I partnered with Councilmembers New and Ortega to co-sponsor an ordinance ensuring prime contractor adherence to minority, women and disability hiring guidelines on city projects, as well as ensuring that sub-contractors on city jobs are promptly paid the full amount due.
  • 2018: I partnered with Councilwoman Kniech to develop a program, funded by contributions by all 13 members of City Council to provide free legal aide for residents facing eviction.
  • 2019: I sponsored a “Lemonade Stand” bill to allow kids the traditional right to dispense products on their property without a license.
  • 2019: I partnered with Councilwoman Kniech to co-sponsor a bill expanding the allowable sources of income on rental applications.
  • 2020: I sponsored a successful ballot initiative clearing the path for City government, should it choose to do so, to play a greater role in closing the digital divide that has had 20% of Denver families without sufficient internet access.
  • 2021: I am working with Councilwoman Black, the Dept of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Presiding Judge to increase fines on commercial vehicles parking illegally in residential neighborhoods.

 

Boards and Committees

  • I serve as Chair of City Council’s Safety Committee, considering issues related to Safety, Education, Health, Housing and Homelessness.
  • I serve on the Youth Violence Prevention Task Force
  • I serve on the Board of the Mile High Flood Control District
  • I serve on the Crime Prevention and Control Commission, joining colleagues in expanding the services provided to those re-entering society after jail or prison.
  • I serve on City Council’s Land Use and Transportation Committee.
  • I serve on the Steering Committee for the Near Southeast Area Neighborhood Planning Initiative.