Who Paid to Defeat Initiative 300?

Denver voters rejected Initiative 300 in the recent municipal election, a measure that would have overturned the city’s camping ban. The campaign was massively outspent by a well organized opposition campaign that included Realtors Associations and the Downtown Denver Partnership. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a group that helped craft the language for Initiative 300, has analyzed the contributions given to the campaign to defeat the measure.

 

 

Ben Price, National Organizing Director with CELDF says contributions also came from oil and gas companies and tourism groups.

Denver voters rejected Initiative 300 in the recent municipal election, a measure that would have overturned the city’s camping ban. The campaign was massively outspent by a well organized opposition campaign that included Realtors Associations and the Downtown Denver Partnership. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a group that helped craft the language for Initiative 300, has analyzed the contributions given to the campaign to defeat the measure.

Ben Price, National Organizing Director with CELDF says contributions also came from oil and gas companies and tourism groups. “That was actually quite a few wealthy groups and corporations that were involved in funding the opposition to Initiative 300, which is their right to survive ordinance. A total of about 2.3 million dollars was spent on the campaign to defeat the measure, and that money came from quite a few wealthy donors but at the top in the 200,000 dollars was the National Association of Realtors, Downtown Denver Partnership also chipped in 200,000 dollars. We saw tourism groups, Oil and Gas Industry donated heavily. I wanna say the Real Estate of course, they were heavily involved in funding the opposition.”

One of the arguments presented by the opponents of Initiative 300 was the idea that the measure itself was not the right approach to tackle homelessness and could ultimately harm the homeless community, something Price disagrees with. “To say that someone else’s right to do exactly what everyone else can do would harm the community and harm themselves is ridiculous. The law, as it was written, did not allow people without homes to use public spaces in a way that would be obstructing the enjoyment of those spaces by others. They would not have been allowed to stay in places that others wouldn’t be allowed to stay in as well. So, if a park closes at dusk, or at some particular time, everyone would still have to leave including the homeless. But public places where anyone can take up space, that would be open to all including those who don’t have shelters themselves.”