hazardous waste

Syringes and drug paraphernalia found during the cleaning of an illegal homeless camp in Denver. 

Denver cannot afford 303

Initiated Ordinance 303 has the promising air of helping our homeless population by “allowing” the city of Denver to create up to four authorized campsites that provide “basic services” (i.e., running water, bathroom facilities, lights and other hygienic provisions) on public property.

This naturally will come at the expense of the taxpayers of Denver through cuts in unmentioned areas of the city’s budget. The fiscal information on the ballot is theoretical and provides for no real understanding as to how the city would manage a project of this proportion.

That being said the language in this initiative can be confusing as its states that it would “allow” the city to create “up to” four authorized campsites, yet later mentioning that “Denver must establish facilities that have basic infrastructure to accommodate overnight homeless campsites.” The city of Denver already works with nonprofit agencies to provide spaces as described above, and the city works diligently to find those in need of shelter accommodation when they are able.

What’s really happening with 303? Proponents argue that the city of Denver has a responsibility to provide the homeless with safe campsites and boast that this initiative would encourage Denver to be more responsive in dealing with this “public health and safety emergency.” Yet, they are also hoping to bring a new law into place allowing for “any person to file a complaint with the city” regarding homeless encampments in public or private spaces and require the city of Denver to remove and clean said encampment(s) within 72 hours of the complaint. If this is not done, civil action lawsuits can be taken against the city of Denver. Unauthorized camping in Denver is already illegal and currently federal law requires enforcement of a complaint to be dealt with within seven days.

If Initiative 303 is passed it would cost Denverites millions of dollars in legal fees to determine its legality. The city would also have to defend itself with every lawsuit brought against it. Not to mention the untold amount of funds that may be required to be spent on private security forces to help the city respond to the 72-hour removal and cleanup because local law enforcement may be too strained in other areas.

Denver cannot afford this potentially illegal, misguided and costly initiative and should remain focused on funding what’s currently working. This public health and safety emergency certainly deserves more attention and focus, but it needs to be done for the best interest of all in the community! Additionally, it should be carefully thought out, analyzed and managed from the perspectives of all involved.

Brandon Mckeel

Denver

The Afghanistan debacle

A U.S. Marine officer who spoke out against the disastrous troop withdrawal from Afghanistan might well be deserving of a commendation. But Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, a 17-year Marine who served as an infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, has fallen into disfavor with the Biden Administration, been sent to the brig and awarded a court-martial hearing.

But Scheller’s criticism of the Afghanistan debacle is spot on. He is quoted in the Washington Examiner as saying, “People are upset because their senior leaders let them down. And none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘We messed this up.’”

But instead of taking responsibility for the murder of the 13 Americans and those who were left behind, the senior military leadership is covering up its shameful withdrawal in Afghanistan while pressing charges against an officer who has spoken the truth.

Perhaps it is they, not Scheller, who should be on trial.

Brian Stuckey

Denver

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