Belligerent, Boldfaced, and Bad – 4 Anti-Housing Ballot Measures to Vote Down
The truest test of one’s values is how they hold up, not in times of plenty, but in times of duress. Accordingly, Ballot measures 2F, 301, 303, and 304 presented to voters this year represent a profound test of Denver’s character. If they are voted down, Denver will be remembered as a city that chose to face adversity with compassion and reason; if they pass, it will instead be remembered as a community which succumbs to its worst impulses under pressure.
In times of crisis, Denverites embrace both their better nature and their rational mind in defiance of those who would bait us into callous dismissal of our own values
Ballot Measure 2F
2F seeks to repeal the group living ordinance passed last year which a) decriminalized having more than one roommate by allowing up to 5 unrelated persons per household; b) created a definition for Residential Care facilities that includes nursing homes, supportive homes for people with disabilities, and specialized homes for people exiting homelessness and allows these residences to be categorized by size instead of who is being served; and c) opened up more locations for transitional housing for people coming out of incarceration which provides improved access to transit and jobs, but still restricts these Community Corrections homes from single- and two-unit zone districts. This Group Living Amendment package, which was approved by 11 members of City Council, was made after 3 years of community input and is a product of thousands of perspectives and compromise from all sides. This attempt at overturning that work will reinstate several inequitable restrictions recently purged from our city and shows blatant disrespect for all of the participants who were a part of the Group Living process.
Ballot Measure 301
This measure seeks to thwart the redevelopment of the defunct Park Hill Golf Course into a community hub with a 60 acre park, grocery store, and mixed income housing development. Perhaps the most underhanded ballot Denver residents have ever voted on, it disguises itself as a conservation effort in order to trick Denverites into thinking we are protecting parks from developers–when in fact all it does is protect a single golf-course from becoming a park the size of cheeseman flanked by inclusive housing and needed business.
Ballot Measure 303
Entitled: “Homelessness, Compassion and Safety,” 303 is a measure worded to pull on the heartstrings of Denverites who have witnessed the increase in unhoused neighbors and want to do something to help. What 303 will actually accomplish is far from compassionate. First and foremost the assertion that the measure will “allow” up to four authorized camping sites is very misleading, currently there are no limitations on how many camping sites the city could create and this measure actually limits the number of safe camping sites that can be created. The other outcome of measure 303 is the guarantee that Denver will be embroiled in lawsuits; the requirement in the measure that the city respond to complaints about encampments within three days is not only inhumane, but it is also in direct violation of federal law that requires a 7 day notice to our unhoused neighbors before they will face displacement.
Ballot Measure 304
This measure was funded, in tandem with 2F and 303, by out of state money from undisclosed sources. This measure seeks to complement the attempts to restrict housing options and encourage lawsuits against Denver with a reduction of resources through a permanent decrease in the City’s sales tax. In the short term this measure will reduce funding for affordable housing, homelessness support, and mental health care — critical services as we recover from the impacts of Covid-19. In the long term this will cripple Denver’s ability to respond to growth and change.
To summarize, 2F makes it more difficult to have a roommate at a time when housing has never been more expensive; 301 preserves an abandoned golf course over community-centered business, open space, and housing development that is supported by the adjacent neighbors; 303 engenders lawsuits against Denver for following Federal law and places unnecessary limitations on the ability of the city to help unhoused neighbors; and 304 seeks to defund the very programs Denverites approved last year to actually help house the homelessness in a time where, at 1/500, its homelessness rate has never been higher.
It’s a thoroughly bad batch of ballots — but on Tuesday, we have a chance to show that in times of crisis, Denverites embrace both their better nature and their rational mind in defiance of those who would bait us into callous dismissal of our own values. Vote no on 2F, 301, 303, and 304 as a statement for reason, a statement for fiscal responsibility, and a statement for compassion –but remember it’s more than merely a statement—it’s an action to support Denver’s recovery that helps everyone regardless of income category, household composition, or access to a stable home.
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