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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyApril 23, 20184min448

Last summer, we told you about Denver City Council President Albus Brooks celebrating one year cancer free.

He had won a battle with Chondrosarcoma, a rare form of cancer of the bone. He won a battle with a 15-pound malignant tumor in his back, after two surgeries lasting some 20 hours. And Brooks, who represents Denver’s District 9, had defied the odds, leaving the hospital several days early following surgery, returning to the helm at the Denver City Council after just four weeks of medical leave and even snowboarding after being told he would never be able to hit the slopes again.

Unfortunately, Brooks is preparing for another battle with cancer, announcing on social media earlier this week his cancer had returned. He’ll undergo surgery to remove a grape-size tumor the first week of May after doctors discovered it during a checkup, according to his post. Read Brooks’ full social media post below:

Nearly two years ago I was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a rare form of skeletal cancer. One year later my family and I celebrated a full year being cancer free. Today, I write to share some difficult news.

During a recent check up this month, doctors found another small tumor. In 2016 the tumor in my body was the size of a cantaloupe; this one is the size of a grape. My surgery to remove the tumor is scheduled for the first week of May, after which I will be recovering for two weeks at home.

I share this news with you the same week that I will be a guest speaker at CancerCon, a conference uniting young adult patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates. While this recent update certainly changes a few details in my life, it definitely does not change my message of hope and resilience.

My story is not defined by cancer, yet cancer has shown me the powerful beauty of human capacity.

Like the capacity of individual grit when forced to fight for your life. Cancer does not discriminate, and I’ve met countless people who have had to engage in this same capacity for resilience in their own fight. My strength comes from those that have suffered and survived, as well as those who have lost their lives.

More than anything else, I have witnessed the capacity my family has to love fully. Their capacity to bring me joy and peace knows no limits, and it is with them that I will find my greatest encouragement in coming months.

It is in that spirit that I ask for Denver to keep me in your prayers. But not just me – there are people in our community that are going through the same thing, but don’t have the public position or fancy title. Because of this, they are often more alone. Don’t forget about them.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyApril 2, 20183min452

Will the Denver City Council launch an investigation into inappropriate text messages that Mayor Michael Hancock sent to a female police officer six years ago? We won’t have an answer until later this week at the earliest, Denver City Council President Albus Brooks says.

In late February, the two-term Denver mayor admitted to sending inappropriate text messages to Denver Police Detective Leslie Branch-Wise when she was an officer serving on his security detail in 2012.

The Denver council met for three hours in closed session on Tuesday discussing the merits of an investigation, at the request of Branch-Wise.

Denver7’s Tony Kovaleski first broke the story last month, airing out the slew of text messages from Hancock to Branch-Wise, six years ago.

“You look sexy in all that black,” he texted after seeing Branch-Wise on TV at a Denver Nuggets game.

Hancock quickly responded in a written statement and video, writing in part “During Detective Branch-Wise’s time on the security team, we became friends, but my text messages in 2012 blurred the lines between being a friend and being a boss.”

But what power does the City Council have related to an investigation? What would a probe look like? For one, only city voters can remove the mayor from office, or any elected official for that matter, under the city’s charter, according to a FAQ document included in Brooks’ statement Thursday.

“In Denver, like most cities and states, one branch of government does not have the power to remove or discipline an elected official serving in another branch of government,” the FAQ said.

The City Council does have the power “to investigate any Department of the City and County and the official acts and conduct of any officer thereof, and may compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books and documents,” the document reads.

But what would an investigation actually probe and would it be independent?

If the council voted to investigate, it would likely request “the Executive Branch” of city government hire a third party to conduct the probe to ensure it is unbiased, the FAQ reads.

An investigator would then seek an answer to whether the alleged conduct occurred and not whether the conduct “rises to the level of sexual harassment which is a legal definition to be determined by a court of law.”

“This is why most sexual harassment investigations end with the conclusion that it is more likely than not that an action occurred,” the document said.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyFebruary 26, 20182min2064

Denver City Council President Albus Brooks is the focus of a complaint alleging he violated campaign finance rules.

Specifically, the complaint filed by nonprofit Strengthening Democracy Colorado alleges Brooks improperly used city staff and official social media accounts to promote a campaign fundraiser.

Denverite’s Andrew Kenney got the scoop over the weekend detailing the complaint:

Brooks is hosting a “39th Birthday Bash & Campaign Event,” a March 10 party with drinks and a so-called silent disco. Attendees will pay $10 toward Brooks’ re-election fund for council District 9.

The complaint, filed by the nonprofit Strengthening Democracy Colorado, focuses on the promotion of the event. It argues that one of Brooks’ city office staffers improperly worked on planning the event during “working hours.” It also calls into question his use of the Albus Brooks: Denver City Council President Facebook page.

This is (public resources) supporting a campaign for a candidate individually,” said Jason Legg, a co-founder of the nonprofit. His group is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that says it’s focused on government integrity.

Brooks has denied the allegations, arguing the staff member that created a Facebook event on the council president’s official page promoting the fundraiser had clocked out and taken paid time off, Kenney writes. He also said the social media account is not connected to city government, noting his “ Facebook and Twitter are not on city dime.”


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyFebruary 20, 20183min690

Last week, Denver officials OK’d an experiment in the city’s River North Art District (RINO) they hope will help ease affordable housing woes.

Denver’s new height incentive applies to an area surrounding the Regional Transportation District (RTD) station near 38th and Blake. It will allow some developers to build higher than zoning rules would otherwise allow if they promise to add affordable housing in the process. The new measure was approved 10-2 by the Denver City Council. Developers who meet requirements in the RINO neighborhood could potentially build to 16 stories under the zoning amendment.

City leaders have tried many approaches to alleviate city residents being squeezed out of their neighborhoods due to surging rent and home prices amid an economic boom.

In a blog post last week on the platform Medium, Denver Council President Albus Brooks, the author of the measure, pointed to the height incentive as the kind of compromise needed to fix the city’s housing crisis.

Brooks writes the height incentive is “an example of adjusting the economy.”

“This is the thought behind these height amendments — beginning to capture the value that developers receive from increased density in a way that provides much-needed community benefits like workforce housing, art space, and neighborhood retail,” Brooks writes.

“The proven economic rationale of supply and demand in cities tells us that height restrictions limits supply, and with increasing demand for housing we will see soaring costs and greater displacement. This plan puts density where it belongs: near high-capacity public transit, following healthy national principles around transit-oriented development.”

The measure is about striking a balance, Brooks has said.

“Somewhere between soaring skyscrapers and soaring housing costs lies the answer, and it is in this space where we are most teachable, and where truly profound transformation takes place,” Brooks writes.

Read Brooks’ full article on Denver’s height incentive here.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyJanuary 16, 20182min445

Denver recently rolled out a new program to aid those facing a “housing crisis.”

Late last week, Denver City Council members took an unconventional extra step in launching an effort to provide legal aid to Denverites facing eviction. Ten council members pooled money totaling $123,600 in donations from office budgets and personal contributions to help get an eviction legal defense program off the ground.

“The Housing Crisis is affecting people lives daily,” Denver City Council President Albus Brooks said in a post of Facebook. “Denver City Council led by members Robin Kniech and Paul Kashmann (supported by 8 others) have initiated an Eviction Assistance pilot program. We have raised over $100K to help over 80 individuals. We hope to evaluate and expand the program in the future.”

Officials say the program will be coordinated by Colorado Legal Services, which has decades of experience in eviction defense and will make use of volunteer lawyers and make other referrals. The program is expected to start in March or April.

During an office budget reconciliation process — where officials decide how to allocate unspent money and plan for 2018 — the council members decided upon the innovative funding. As the council members explain in a statement, “City Council rules permit donations to non-profit organizations for public purposes — in this case preventing displacement and homelessness, which costs the city much more in public assistance than keeping a family housed.”

Underscoring the need for the defense program, the council members pointed to research by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless that found a significant gap between the level of legal representation afforded tenants and that which is available to landlords. While tenants are represented by an attorney in only 1 to 3 percent of the cases involving major landlords, landlords are represented in virtually 100 percent of those same cases.