Headlines July 27, 2020

Headlines July 27, 2020

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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock gave his annual state of the city address today, touching on the challenges facing the city due to rising cases of the coronavirus as well as the economic fallout of the pandemic.

300 Denverites have died from COVID-19 and cases continue to rise.

Mayor Hancock said that the city is leaning on science-backed measures to curb the spread of the virus, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

Last week the Denver Public Health Department said that all people three years of age or older must wear a face covering when inside public spaces.

In his address, Hancock also touched on the recent protests around racism and police brutality and announced the creation of a think tank that will lead city wide conversations on racism and bias.

Describing racism as a public health crisis Hancock said the new institute would help develop a “vaccine” for the virus of racism.

The institute will be a public-private partnership that will eventually include civic and civil rights leaders; faith leaders; diversity, equity and inclusion experts; and public safety experts.

“Our vision is for this institute to become the national leader in research of racism, bias, inclusion, practices of reconciliation, and development of programs and trainings for law enforcement, and the public, private and education sectors,” Hancock said.

Final voting opened yesterday in the quest to find a new name for the Stapleton neighborhood in Denver.

The area was named for a former Denver mayor and Klu Klux Klan member. Community members have been trying to change the name for several years.

Stapleton United Neighbors, the organization tasked with finding a new name, said that Central Park and Skyview are the top two choices after the last round of voting.

The two choices come after a month long selection process which began with 331 names being submitted for consideration.

The Denverite reports that two name suggestions eliminated last week were Concourse and Mosley, after John Mosley and his family. John Mosley was a Tuskegee Airman from Denver who attended Manual High School.

Eligible voters will be allowed to cast their vote for a new name until Thursday at 2 p.m.

Jane Brautigam, the city manager for Boulder, announced today that she will be retiring at the end of October.

In a statement Brautigam said the time has come for her to step into the next journey in her life, adding that she is proud of what has been achieved at the city while she has been manager.

Today’s announcement comes 4 weeks after the city announced that Deputy City Manager Tanya Ange would be leaving for a position in Oregon in early August.

 

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Demonstrations in Aurora on Saturday led to at least two people being injured as they protested the death of Elijah McClain at the hands of city officers and first responders nearly a year ago.

The Sentinel reports that at about 7 p.m. a Jeep surged into herds of protesters walking in the northbound lanes of I-225, but it did not appear to hit anyone. One witness said a driver in a truck pulled quickly in front of the Jeep, ramming it and keeping it from plowing into people.

After the Jeep ran into the crowd, one protester pulled out a gun and fired appearing to be aiming at the Jeep. Instead, police said the shooter struck two people, one of whom suffered a graze wound and another taken to the hospital and was in stable condition.

A short while later about 150 people vandalized the Aurora courthouse. Police reported no arrests during the evening, and there were no physical confrontations between officers and protestors.

Police are trying to identify the person who fired the gun, and they are discussing with prosecutors what charges to file against the driver of the Jeep whom they have interviewed.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman issued a statement on Facebook on Sunday that said Aurora cannot become a Portland.  He did not address the Jeep or the shooting, but focused on the vandalism, saying that he would be asking the interim Chief of Police why the courthouse was not adequately defended.

A pro-police rally took place Sunday in Berthoud. It was met by counter protesters, but, according to 9News, the situation remained peaceful.

Hundreds of people also gathered Saturday afternoon in Loveland for a “Back the Blue” demonstration to show support for local law enforcement.

Also on Saturday, a man was arrested in Eaton after being accused of trying to drive over a crowd during a pro-police rally in the small Weld County community.

A Boulder group that collected signatures during the pandemic for a November ballot issue is set to submit signatures to the city clerk’s office today.

The group “No Eviction Without Representation” is proposing a citizen initiative that would provide free legal counsel to all city renters who experience eviction. Ruy Argano with the group says if approved by voters, the legal counsel would be free, and available to anyone, regardless of age, income, or immigration status.  Argano believes the protection is long-overdue because summonses to eviction court in Boulder increased by almost 30 percent from 2016 to 2019  – a number expected to get worse due to job loss from COVID-19 that resulted in many not being able to pay their rent.

“It’s sort of a shame that a citizen initiative has to be the one to do this as opposed to our elected officials implementing something like this,” he said.

He added that the group is building on the shoulders of other tenant advocates and working-class movements that have developed right to counsel programs.

To fund the legal counsel, landlords who rent within the city limits would pay an annual 75-dollar fee for each rental unit. Boulder City Council will consider a motion to accept the certification of sufficient valid signatures at its meeting tomorrow night.

Gov. Jared Polis said on Friday that he had struck a deal between the oil and gas industry and environmental groups to prevent ballot initiatives in the 2020 or 2022 elections.

However, the Colorado Sun reports that any truce between those supporting oil and gas development and those in favor of more stringent regulations or moratoriums may be illusory.

The governor said in an opinion piece published in Colorado Politics that there are no real winners in the fights; but that he was proud to report a path to make divisive oil and gas ballot fights a thing of the past.

The purported agreement means that the industry-backed efforts to put two questions on this year’s ballot will end.

Three other ballot initiatives — related to oil and gas regarding setbacks, local moratoriums and regulatory oversight – also won’t make the ballot. But the supporters behind those said the decisions reflects the difficulty of collecting the required number of signatures during a pandemic — and not any deal with the governor.

Anne Lee Foster, an environmental activist, said the Governor was speaking completely out of turn and they have absolutely not taken the possibility of a 2022 ballot initiative off the table.

Joe Salazar, the executive director for Colorado Rising, said his group is not backing down. He said he does not know what the Governor means by a truce and they are keeping everything on the table.

Two candidates for the Colorado House of Representatives candidates filed a lawsuit Friday against Gov. Polis and local officials over face mask mandates to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The Daily Camera reports the two candidates claim the mask orders compel political speech in violation of the US Constitution.

The plaintiffs, Mark Milliman and Donna Walter, are also suing Boulder County Public Health executive director Jeff Zayach, Larimer County public health director Tom Gonzales and Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry.

Milliman, a Republican, is running to unseat Democrat Karen McCormick in House District 11,  while Walter, also a Republican, is running against Democrat Cathy Kipp in House District 52.