Sunday, April 15, 2012

City-wide Denver Neighborhood Organization Votes, Asks City Council to Delay Vote to Arrest “Occupiers” and the Homeless

Established in 1975, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) is a city-wide network of more than 100 Registered Neighborhood Organizations. INC’s mission is to advocate for Denver citizens by bringing together, informing and empowering Denver neighborhood organizations to actively engage in addressing City issues.
At its monthly delegate meeting on Saturday, April 14, INC Delegates asked Councilman Albus Brooks who is sponsoring the ordinance on “unauthorized camping” to delay a vote, scheduled for May 7,  until INC holds a full public forum on May 12.  Councilman Brooks, who was present at the meeting, contended that situation is "an emergency" as having people sleeping on the 16th Street Mall is unacceptable and the City needs to pass the ordinance quickly.  Brooks admitted that the ordinance  was passed out of committee “two and a half weeks ago” and denied that it was being pushed through Council too precipitously and without the benefit of public input. INC Vice President, Cindy Johnstone, pointed out to the Councilman that the situation has existed for many years and asked why Council is not providing more time for the public to learn about details of the plan and consider its consequences. 

INC President, Larry Ambrose, informed Councilman Brooks that there was simply not enough time for INC delegates to study and consider such a complex issue and whether its effect would be to push the homeless into Denver neighborhoods and the suburbs. INC Board Member, Randle Loeb, also a member of the Commission on Homeless whose mission is to advise the City on policies affecting the homeless, stated that the Commission had not had time to consider this ordinance and had nor met since last November. He termed the ordinance pernicious and said there is a severe lack of services for homeless young people, Native Americans, and other people of color.
INC addressed the controversial camping ban ordinance with a Resolution asking City Council to postpone a vote until after the INC's May 12 meeting where it proposed to sponsor a thorough public hearing.

            "Whereas, The Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) believes that the City Council ordinance proposing to ban unauthorized camping has significant implications to the citizens and neighborhoods of Denver, and

            Whereas, the impacts and ramifications of the ordinance on individuals and neighborhoods has not been fully explored by Denver citizens, and
           Whereas, alternatives whereby individuals directly affected by the ordinance have not been developed or are not known to Denver citizens,
            Now therefore, be it resolved that INC respectfully asks Denver City Council to postpone
a vote on the ordinance banning unauthorized camping on property in the City and County of Denver until such time as adequate, additional public meetings have been held to inform and educate Denver citizens including homeless people, as to the details of the ordinance being established. INC specifically proposes to hold a thorough forum on the subject at the May 12th delegate meeting, wherein all parties, including homeless people be invited, a balanced presentation will be made before all Registered Neighborhood Organizations present and where delegates will have the chance to learn and ask meaningful questions. “

Councilman Brooks will hosts a discussion of the "unauthorized camping" ordinance at 1:30 Tuesday, April 17 in the 3rd Floor Committee Room of City and County Building.


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