Last night, I attended my first 2019 mayoral forum. It was held in Manual High School’s auditorium, which gave two of the candidates – Stephan “Seku” Evans and current Mayor Michael Hancock – an opportunity to recall being alums of that school’s Thunderbolts.
The event was sponsored by the City Park West Neighborhood Association and attracted about 50-ish people, including a lot of campaign types. As of yesterday afternoon, the order of names on the ballot has been decided: Penfield Tate, Michael Hancock (aiming for a third term), Kalyn Rose Heffernan, Jamie Giellis, Stephan “Seku” Evans, and Lisa Calderón. All six were at the forum, as was Ken Simpson, who is no longer on the ballot.
I am heartened to see that these events are now getting more plentiful, since we have been seeing a flood of information about the many candidates running for president in 2020. But we have another election to think about right now, and it’s in Denver, and it’s actually quite important. This is a turning point election, since the explosive growth and over-the-top development has changed Denver in ways that are making people angry and, dare I say it, feel powerless.
The election is May 7, with the mayoral race, numerous races that involve a lot of potential city council members, the auditor, the clerk and recorder, and two ballot initiatives. One initiative, the Right to Survive, involves rights for homeless individuals, and the other addresses decriminalizing psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms. (During the lightning round that finished off the forum last night, the question was whether candidates would support the Right to Survive initiative; four of the six candidates voted yes, and two voted no.)
The other questions were exactly what you’d expect of Denver voters this year in terms of getting answers: development in the neighborhoods, transportation challenges, preventing displacement of longtime residents, sub-par recycling rates, crime rates in central Denver, and, finally, the challenge of dealing with homelessness.
I wish I could include all of their answers, but there were not that many surprises, though some of the challengers to the incumbent mayor weighed in on their concerns on how this administration is doing – or not. Some were in the form of barbs, others in more gently couched terms.
I couldn’t find any evidence that someone covered this event, but today’s Denver Post story on the candidates’ positions (as well as the upcoming vote to approve new Denveright plans) includes some of the same information I heard at the forum. Find the story at https://www.denverpost.com/2019/03/21/denver-development-mayor-challengers-hancock/
There is another forum tonight, sponsored by the Alliance Center. The Center’s Facebook page says the event is sold out, but the Center also will live stream the proceedings. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with the event beginning at 6 p.m.) There also are posts from people trying to resell their tickets because they cannot attend. (Notes the Center: Confirmed participants are Michael Hancock, Lisa Calderón, Stephan “Seku” Evans, Jamie Giellis, and Penfield Tate. All candidates have been invited.) The live stream link is here:
There are other forums coming up, but I’d say the major series is Denver Decides, a collaborative venture between the City and County of Denver and the League of Women Voters of Denver. It’s been a staple of Denver elections. The forums began earlier this week, but I cannot find any links to videos on KDVR (the city’s Channel 8) or anywhere else. The city’s website basically says, check back – which I will. The list of forums posted on Westword is here:
https://www.westword.com/news/denver-decides-starts-series-of-seven-election-forums-on-march-19-11273628For other information, check out this link, which has links within this page:
Other good sources include your neighborhood’s registered neighborhood organization; Denverite, which has really been digging deep into this election; Westword, The Denver Post, Colorado Public Radio (CPR), and the city’s news channels.
Below is a shot of the panelists at last night’s forum — the Home of the Thunderbolts.