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May 30, 2019 04:45 PM UTC

Of Camping and Campaign Bans

  • by: Colorado Pols

For Denver Mayoral candidate and occasional voter Jamie Giellis, the good news and the bad news are one in the same: The Denver runoff election finally concludes on Tuesday.

We’ve noted a few times in this space that Giellis is running what you could call a “nontraditional” campaign — which is a nice way of saying that she’s been a mess as a candidate. Both Giellis and incumbent Mayor Michael Hancock have ratcheted up the negative campaigning in recent weeks, though many of the wounds being suffered by the Giellis camp are self-inflicted. Take, for example, this mail piece that arrived in the mailboxes of Denver voters today:


First, let’s get to the unfortunate error: An extra ‘a’ and a few other misplaced consonants drastically change the meaning of this mail piece.

The irony of this copy-editing mistake is that it is a pretty good summation of Giellis’ all-over-the-place position on homelessness and the Urban Campaign Camping Ban. Ahead of the first round of balloting in Denver, Giellis was clear that she SUPPORTED ending the Urban Camping Ban but DID NOT SUPPORT Initiative 300 (which was commonly called “The Urban Camping Ban Initiative”). This was on April 28, 2019:

But as you can see in the mail piece above, Giellis now says that she DOES NOT support a repeal of the Urban Camping Ban, though she stands by her opposition on the now-deceased Initiative 300. Furthermore, Giellis claims that Hancock is lying when he says that she once DID support a repeal…even though she very clearly had no problem opposing it a month ago and several news outlets (including the Denver Post and 9News) have noted that she appears to have flip-flopped on the issue.

On the other hand, you could argue that the mail piece above contradicts itself at least once on Urban Camping Bans, so who can really say what her position actually entails?

On the other (other) hand, perhaps Giellis really means to propose an Urban CAMPAIGN Ban. After this election cycle, Denver voters might agree.


16 thoughts on “Of Camping and Campaign Bans

  1. Hey Pols, I get it that Giellis is not a great candidate nor has her campaign been a smooth operation. I don’t get dedicating a post to this mailer, her kind of weird flopping around on this issue (which I think most people would agree homelessness is a tough issue and that the problem has gotten worse in Denver and the western United States in the last eight years but I digress, it’s on them to message that not me) and not a single mention of Mayor Hancock’s tantrum at the Denver Post debate where he retroactively and for the first time suggested he was led on by Detective Leslie Branch-Wise in the text exchanges that have led to seemingly endless fallout for his administration or the press conference the following day featuring Giellis, Branch-Wise and others where evidently the Detective felt she needed to defend herself from the rhetoric of the Mayor. 

    Pols is literally the only political news source that gives any attention to the Denver metro area that hasn’t at least acknowledged this story. It hasn’t even warranted a mention in a “Get More Smarter”. 

    These are all the top results if you google “Michael Hancock” right now:

    In spite of it not being my responsibility to message for Giellis on homelessness and it equally not being my responsibility to be the news editor for this site I must say Giellis not being ready for prime time shouldn’t obscure the fact that this is not a good look for the Mayor of a (mid-)major, relatively progressive, city.

    Personally I think one candidate fumbling a position that a clearly failed policy isn’t working is a less noteworthy item than another candidate in that same race attacking someone that he himself agreed he mistreated via a settlement paid for by taxpayers. That he went so far to suggest that she was complicit or encouraged his advances is even a new wrinkle in the story – what else do you want for a post-worthy story? Isn’t this kind of story a bigger campaign gaffe than a mailer typo?? Fellow Polsters, what say you?*



    *full disclosure: I’m sure fellow readers would observe I’m not voting for the Mayor – I’m not. I am voting for Giellis as a no to Hancock. I am deeply ambivalent about her ability to be an effective Mayor. The Devil you know Vs. The Angel you don’t! 

    1. The earlier version of WordPress on Pols had a help menu option to answer all those questions like "How do I add video?"

      Not sure why they took that option off.

      Video is one of the easier things to post. The hard part is finding the embed code on the video you want. It's usually under the "share" menu on a youtube video. Anyway, find it, copy that embed code. With that code in memory, go back to your Pols posting screen and click on "Source" Then paste your copied embed code, and post comment. Refresh so it shows up. That's it!

      I'd vote as you did in the Denver Mayor race, for the same reasons. Glad I don't get to choose between these two particular lesser weevils. I agree that Pols does seem to have chosen the Hancock side in this race.

  2. I will be holding my nose, crossing my fingers, and voting for not Hancock.  In the event the vote goes my way, pretty much expecting a not-Giellis vote in my future.

  3. As a candidate for the Englewood City Council, I am very wishy-washy on this subject, BUT something has to be done.

    Since Denver has started pushing the homeless out of the city, other suburban areas are finding themselves with the problem. Here in Englewood, the bike/hiking trail along the river has become littered with alcohol containers of all types, drug needles, human feces, etc., etc.

    Tents and other types of shelters have popped up, trash has become a real problem.

    Violence has always been connected with the homeless problem. Recently there was a stabbing by the Dartmouth Ave. bridge over the Platte. Shoplifting is very rampant at Walmart on Hampden. (So much so that an estimate of a loss of a million dollars a year is blamed on shoplifting despite Walmart security/police presence). 

    What can be done to help these people? Frankly, not much when most of them do not want help. Most just want their drugs and booze.

    If elected, I will propose a total ban on camping and sleeping in public in the City of Englewood. 

    1. Which one are you? If you prefer to stay anonymous, that is of course your choice.

      I have to disagree with your statement "Most of them [the homeless] do not want help. Most just want their drugs and booze."

      Substance addiction is a real problem, and your statement may be true for part of the homeless population – certainly not all. HUD says that 20% of homeless folks deal with chronic disabling condition such as mental illness, substance abuse, disabilities, or a combination. (see link below)

      As someone who ran one of the first battered women's shelters in Denver, and has grappled with homelessness among my family and friends, I know that it is a much larger problem.

      Utah, those crazy left wing Mormons, reduced homelessness by 90% by – gasp! providing shelters and wraparound services for homeless people. Imagine that.

      I'll be gnomic a la MADCO and propose that you google "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" sometime.

      1. MJ, I think you're referring to SLC, which is a notoriously blue dot in a sea of red. That said, point taken: providing housing and services reduces homelessness (and saves money).

        And the Mormons do a decent job of taking care of their own, so outside of SLC the homeless problem isn't as bad.

  4. Blackie is correct when s/he says or implies that a substantial number of homeless people prefer living on the streets. The mental illness issue was present during my social services career, but not in the numbers some people think. Substance addiction was present, but all too often a matter of choice. Not much has changed there; I have kept in touch with colleagues from my career since that career ended some years ago.

    During said career, we sometimes joked that the best way to solve Denver's homeless problem was to buy some hundreds of one way bus tickets to Phoenix. The rationale was that if people insisted on being on the streets, at least they would be in a much warmer climate.

    It would be interesting to see if a Utah solution could work here. Bear in mind that it would not be 100% effective. And I have strong doubts that an air-head like Giellis could pull it off.

    1. First of all Giellis is not an airhead.  The problem with Hancock is that he seems to ignore issues until Auditor Tim O'Brien gets his attention with a whack on the head with a two-by-four.

      The City of Denver has failed to develop an effective strategy and devote enough resources to its efforts to reduce homelessness, a new report from the city’s auditor found. Mayor Michael Hancock says he’s moving quickly to implement the report’s recommendations.

      The 57-page report, issued by Denver Auditor Timothy O’Brien on Thursday, April 18, faulted the city for its “fragmented” approach to homeless services and prevention, in which key responsibilities are spread across different agencies and departments. It found that the lead agency in the city’s homelessness efforts, Denver’s Road Home, is understaffed and lacks the resources necessary for strategic planning and policy development.

      Giellis' strengths are listening and collaborating to get everyone pointed in the same direction to solve problems.

      Jamie has a knack for breaking a large issue down into components, bringing the right people to the table, and engaging those people and the community to create solutions and move the ball forward. When the door closes on a project, Jamie finds the key to reopen it and keep it going.

      Why do you think Lisa Calderon and Penfield Tate were so willing to join her team?

      1. Davie: you've not heard her interviews on TV and seen some of her commercials? She seems borderline incoherent or at least clueless. Couple other posters in this thread don't like Hancock, and admit that Giellis has some serious shortcomings.

        Also, there was an interesting op-ed in the Post couple days ago from two persons who had to work with her up in RiNo. They were not complimentary.

        Lisa Calderon and Penfield Tate… really expected them to endorse Hancock? I've said before….I haven't lived in Denver since spring, 1995, when I moved to Lakewood. If I was still in Denver, I'd vote for Hancock.

        1. Today's Op-ed in the Denver Post is in response to the one they ran the other day.  I've read them both.  I've also talked to Jamie in person — she's not a slick pol like Hancock (who is a professional politician — it's all he's ever wanted to be).

          Hancock's gotta go.  Giellis will get the job done.  61% of Denver voters aren't wrong.  The comments I see on NextDoor about Hancock are nearly universally negative.  We'll see what the final result is on Tuesday.

          1. I'd like to believe in Giellus, Davey.  But she just keeps screwing up.  Not bothering to vote, being all over map on homelessness — and now a "campaign ban?"

             if the mayor holds his base, he needs only a third of the Calderon/Tate vote to coast in.  She needs more than two-thirds of those votes.

            Be happy that this is Hancock's last hurrah.  Four years from now, Cary Kennedy?

            Pax vobiscum.

            1. I understand your doubts about Giellis.  It's just that after observing Hancock for the last eight years, I have completely lost faith in him as a leader.

              But I agree, if Cary Kennedy were in the race, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    2. Just a quick update:

      @CHB. Buying a ticket to elsewhere was not a joke in Utah, the most popular destination for the homeless, etc., was Denver.

      And for MJ:  Since all the publicity has hit, the Englewood police will serve notice Tuesday giving ALL campers, etc. along the river in Englewood that they have two weeks to move. Apparently there is a camping ban in Englewood, it has just not been enforced.

      Littleton and Sheridan have camping bans in place and they are enforced. Littleton treats the river bank as a part of their parks system. Sheridan has signs posted.

      It seems that Englewood has had the ban on the books, but there was an arguement about WHO owned the river bank!

      Two and a half years ago, the clear out happened costing the City of Englewood $39,000 in clean-up costs. Wonder how much it will cost this time.

  5. Sorry, she’s not a great speaker and was flummoxed by a simple question about development in Denver. Airhead, lightweight, not ready, pick a term. Better the devil you know. 

    Meanwhile Kelly Brough would be a competent, strong mayor next time around.

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