Headlines March 15, 2022
Aurora Poised To Pass Urban Camping Ban
Aurora’s City Council advanced an urban camping ban Monday with a 6-5 vote. The proposed ordinance – sponsored by Mayor Mike Coffman – would ban unauthorized public camping and will go to a final vote on March 28.
Councilmembers Alison Coombs, Angela Lawson, Juan Marcano, Ruben Medina and Crystal Murillo opposed the ban. Murillo introduced an amendment to create temporary storage for belongings seized during a forced sweep of an encampment earlier this month.
Aurora City Council debated but ended up shelving a camping ban last year. Council revived it this year after the Nov. election voted in a conservative majority.
The Aurora Sentinel reports the city sweeps homeless encampments using a variety of laws and regulations. The new ban would codify rather than change the city’s policy on notice, consequences for refusing to leave, and requirements for shelter availability.
Broomfield Oil And Gas Operation Resumes Drilling Activity After Saturday Fire
Crews from the North Metro Fire Department responded to a small fire late Saturday that occurred at an oil and gas pad near 156th Avenue and Huron Street in Broomfield. Officials reported no injuries or structural damage.
According to a press release, the operator, Extraction Oil and Gas Inc. will provide a root cause analysis within seven days. The operator’s notification summary indicated that the fire occurred as a result of hydrocarbons entering the combustor during drilling operations.
Since there was no structural damage, crews restarted operations late Sunday afternoon with officials from the City and County of Broomfield and fire department personnel present.
Colorado Getting Back To Pre-Pandemic Employment Levels
Colorado labor officials report that 98% of jobs lost since the beginning of COVID have been recovered. January’s 4.1% unemployment rate, the lowest since the pandemic began, is still higher than the 2.8% in February 2020, which was the month before the first COVID-19 cases in Colorado were confirmed.
Ryan Gedney, labor economist at the state Department of Labor and Employment, said that the 2.8% was historically low because it was after the end of a very long economic increase. If the unemployment trends continue to decrease, Gedney sees that the state could reach the 3% level in one or two years.
Colorado’s job increase last year ranked the fourth highest in the U.S.
While more people are part of the state’s labor force, around 132,000 Coloradans are still unemployed, compared with 86,000 who were unemployed in February 2020.
The data shows more people are returning to work, especially mothers who had dropped out of the workforce early on to deal with their children and remote schooling or lack of childcare options during the pandemic.
Boulder Launches New Emergency Alert System
The City of Boulder announced yesterday it has launched a new emergency notification system that will allow police and fire personnel to send alerts and warnings to the public via cell phones.
According to the city’s press release, messages will light up all enabled cell phones in a specific geographic area with sounds and text similar to Amber Alerts and warnings from the National Weather Service.
Users will not be required to opt-in or subscribe to the service.
Boulder’s prior alert system sent limited notifications to landlines and to any cell phone users who registered for notifications through Everbridge.
AAPI Groups and Community Leaders Host Panel Discussion Addressing Anti-Asian Hate, Discrimination and Violence
A consortium of 12 organizations and community leaders, including leaders from Colorado’s Asian American and Pacific Islander nonprofits, will host a panel discussion honoring the victims killed a year ago in Atlanta because of anti-Asian hate crime.
Panelists will share resources and ways to get involved with local community efforts to address a sharp increase in discrimination and violence experienced by Asians and Asian-Americans.
The event begins at 10:00 AM, today, at the Colorado School of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Center.
Colorado Lawmakers Introduce Election Security Bill
Colorado lawmakers introduced a bill last week to increase security and training for people running elections. The bill would require key cards and round the clock surveillance for rooms in which election equipment is stored. It also mandates election workers complete an intensive training geared toward teaching workers about how to spot “disinformation.”
The proposal for the new law comes in response to on-going disputes with Mesa County Clerk and recorder, Tina Peters. Last week a jury indicted Peters for election tampering and misconduct. She faces seven felony and three misdemeanor charges.