Mayor Michael Hancock Archives - Colorado Politics
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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyDecember 7, 20173min1800

About one year ago, Denver fire officials shut down two popular art spaces for code violations after 36 people died in a devastating fire at the Ghost Ship DIY art space in Oakland, CA.

A new $300,000 fund — announced earlier this week by Denver Arts & Venues — will offer financial support for artists to bring their “creative spaces” up to city code and ensure they’re safe.

Ginger White, deputy director of Arts & Venues, said in a statement the program will grant conditional occupancy in these “creative spaces” while they’re brought up to code and offer financial support for tenants and owners to offset the cost associated with improvements or repairs to become code-compliant.

The fund is an extension of the city’s Safe Occupancy Program, which allows tenants to continue to live in buildings with non-life threatening building code violations if they work with the city and Denver Fire Department on improvements.

“We are committed to cultivating, sustaining and promoting our diverse artistic and creative industry, including ensuring that our artists have a safe, affordable space where they can live and work,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “The Safe Occupancy Program and the Safe Creative Spaces Fund are designed to support our creative professionals with resources to get these live/work spaces up to code, keep them affordable and avoid further displacements.”

The city is partnering with RedLine, a nonprofit contemporary art center, to administer the fund. RedLine will also help with support between artists and art business. The city said artists can contact the nonprofit for confidential guidance before enrolling in the program. Fund eligibility details can be found here.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyNovember 17, 20173min2180

With lots on Denver’s public infrastructure plate, the new executive director of Department of Public Works, appointed this week by Mayor Michael Hancock, will likely prove to be a key member of city government.

Eulois Cleckley will take the helm Dec. 11, overseeing a robust city department which manages services involving public infrastructure and facilities.

He’ll also aid the city in launching dozens of public infrastructure projects associated with $937 million in recently-approved general obligation bonds and facilitating the reorganization of his new department to spur the creation of a city department of transportation and mobility.

“Many of the services that Denver residents count on during their day are delivered by our Public Works team, and in Eulois we found a leader who will bring a renewed vision and energy to support our residents as they go about their daily lives,” Hancock said in a statement.

Cleckley will join Denver by way of the Houston-Galveston Area Council, where he oversaw the Metropolitan Planning Organization as deputy director. He’s previously served as chief of statewide and regional planning, and later acting chief of the Field Operations Division, for Washington, D.C.’s District Department of Transportation (DDOT).

“Denver is a growing city, and I am committed to ensure the department delivers projects and services in an efficient manner that addresses the needs of communities across Denver,” Cleckley said in a statement.

Denver plans to use the voter-approved GO bonds to fund 69 projects ranging from $13 million in upgrades to the 16th Street Mall to $35.5 million for Denver Art Museum improvements and Denver Central Library renovations totaling $38 million. Find a full list here.

Denver voters overwhelmingly supported the GO bond measures, with support ranging from 67 to 75 percent on the seven bond packages on the ballot.

The city wants to split the Department of Public Works into two cabinet-level divisions focusing on mobility and infrastructure.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyNovember 7, 20174min9690

Considering the obstacles environmental activists faced in their organized efforts to mandate green roofs in Denver, Initiative 300 appeared a long shot leading into election night.

Nonetheless, Denver’s green roof initiative appeared poised to succeed late Tuesday by a narrow margin. As of 10 p.m., the initiative had garnered 51 percent of the vote (43,599 votes to 41,341), according to Denver election results.

The activists behind the Denver Green Roof Initiative faced formidable opposition and a steep 12-1 disadvantage in campaign spending.

Several Denver City Council members came out against the ballot initiative — which would require newly-built, large buildings to dedicate roof space to vegetation and/or solar panels — arguing it carried unintended consequences. Even Mayor Michael Hancock said it went too far and provided no flexibility.

Developers rallied around the opposition with large campaign donations.

All told, the organized opposition, the Citizens for a Responsible Denver, significantly outraised the Denver Green Roof Initiative, $250,000 to $22,000, according to the Denver Post.

Under the green roof ordinance, newly-built buildings larger than 25,000 square feet would be required to dedicate a portion (the portion will vary depending on building size) of their rooftops to vegetation or solar panels.

Organizers say green roofs will help reduce the city’s urban heat island effect. Rooftops absorb warmth from the sun, raising the city’s temperature by nearly five degrees, the citizens group behind the initiative said. However with a green roof, vegetation or solar panels are instead absorbing the sun’s rays, keeping buildings cool through a process called evapotranspiration.

Denver ranks third in the nation for urban heat island, according to USA Today, behind Las Vegas and Albuquerque. A cooler Denver would help reduce energy consumption in the city, the group said.

City Council members Kendra Black, Kevin Flynn, Stacie Gilmore and Mary Beth Susman opposed the initiative, arguing a green roof mandate carried with it unintended consequences including further driving up the cost of living in Denver and stymying development.

“Denver is becoming less and less affordable for our hard-working families,” Black previously said. “Let’s not make it any more expensive with the ill-conceived mandate for green roofs.”

Hancock said, “It goes too far too fast and provides no flexibility or opportunity for ‘carrots’ instead of ‘sticks.’”

Developers and business organizations like the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce also opposed the initiative.

The Denver City Council could modify or repeal the green roof ordinance after six months but would require a two-thirds majority vote, according to Denverite.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyNovember 6, 20173min2220

It’s art week in Denver, so naturally Mayor Michael Hancock cut a rug in front of the media during a hip-hop lesson last week.

Westword’s Kyle Harris detailed the awkward start (his words, not ours) to the nine-day celebration of Denver arts and culture on Thursday.

Then came the event that all of us suckers in the media had come for: the mayor learning hip-hop dance moves from internationally renowned French artist Salah. “We’re gonna pop it,” quipped (CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Janice) Sinden, as the dancer came to the front of the crowd.

Then Salah, who said he was enthusiastic that he was teaching a mayor how to dance for the first time, gave both Hancock and Sinden a few moves to try out. They struggled with their jackets and chortled as their bodies tried to keep up.

Denver Arts Week kicked off Friday and runs through Nov. 11. The week includes a slew of events you can find here, but also includes Imagine 2020 where the City Council is challenged to “infuse arts and culture” into council districts.

“At its core, IMAGINE 2020 is about creating arts and cultural opportunities for all Denver residents and visitors to enjoy right in their communities.” Hancock said in a statement.

Denver Arts & Venues has provided the council members with $2,020 to find artists, organizations or programs and bring arts and culture to the city. Community Zumba, a live performance by Latin Sol and a cross-cultural dance celebration at two elementary schools are among the events scheduled.

Click here for a list of events in Denver council districts.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyOctober 26, 20174min4060

Denver could soon be budding trees, vegetable gardens and/or solar panels atop its roofs under a November ballot question, but the initiative has proven unpopular at least among city officials and developers.

Alongside school board races, GO Bond proposals and other initiatives, Denverites will be asked on the ballot to consider whether the city should require newly-built, larger buildings to have “green roofs.” Initiative 300, or the “green roof initiative,” would require new buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to dedicate a portion, about 20 percent, of their rooftops to vegetation or solar panels.

The environmentally-friendly idea behind green roofs is they would help reduce Denver’s urban heat island effect. Rooftops absorb warmth from the sun, raising the city’s temperature by nearly five degrees, the citizens group behind the initiative said. Denver ranks third in the nation for urban heat island, according to USA Today, behind Las Vegas and Albuquerque. The green roofs would help cool Denver, reducing energy consumption in the city.

It’s not the idea of green roofs but the ordinance itself that has garnered mounting opposition.

In a statement Tuesday with the Citizens for a Responsible Denver (the organized opposition to the initiative), City Council members Kendra Black, Kevin Flynn, Stacie Gilmore and Mary Beth Susman said while they support environmentally-friendly policies, it’s the lack of flexibility and unintended consequences associated with the ordinance they can’t get behind.

“Denver is becoming less and less affordable for our hardworking families,” Black said. “Let’s not make it any more expensive with the ill-conceived mandate for green roofs.”

Flynn noted he has vacant commercial buildings in his district, and he fears the initiative would serve as an obstacle to their re-use.

“This measure alone would likely put future re-use out of reach. Green Roofs and especially mandates, should require greater community input than a two-month campaign,” Flynn said.

And Mayor Michael Hancock has also come out against the initiative, arguing “Initiative 300 is not the right approach for Denver. It goes too far too fast and provides no flexibility or opportunity for ‘carrots’ instead of ‘sticks.’”

Developers have also joined the opposition, as Westword notes, with every donor to Citizens for a Responsible Denver, “either directly involved with or related to developing, including the Associated General Contractors of Colorado, Denver Commercial Association of Realtors and the Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors.”

Citizens for a Responsible Denver have raised $41,500 in campaign donations — more than six times that of The Denver Green Roof Initiative, according to Westword.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 10, 20174min228
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock unveiled a package of plans to address the city’s housing crunch Tuesday to be used by a city program called HOPE. That stands for Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere, and the details announced Tuesday include binding mediation between landlords and tenants before eviction and money for city residents facing a […]

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Adam McCoyAdam McCoySeptember 29, 20173min4080

Denver hasn’t been shy about its resistance to the White House’s bellicose stance on immigration — i.e. a travel ban; President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, and the promise to end a program, unless Congress acts, that provides protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

In late August, the Denver City Council and Mayor Michael Hancock agreed on a new policy which prohibits city employees from cooperating with federal immigration authorities and provides other protections for undocumented immigrants in Denver, Colorado Public Radio reports.

During a signing of the policy, Hancock urged the president to “leave our DACA children alone,” Westword reports, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started under President Barack Obama. It shielded children brought to the U.S. illegally from deportation for two years and allowed them to legally work. Hancock also noted the 17,000 Coloradans protected under DACA.

Though the future of DACA is uncertain, over the fall, Denver will reach out to immigrants with a series of clinics to help DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants.

The clinics will educate interested parties on renewing their DACA status, answer legal questions and provide legal services and offer information on immigration and citizenship.

The city said the clinics are sponsored by local immigrant advocacy organizations including the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Colorado Latino Forum, and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. Prominent Denver law firms will provide council at the meetings on citizenship and immigration. No registration is required and all of the meetings will be held at a local Denver Public Library.

Find a full list of meetings here and here.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 8, 20172min3270

The mother of all bond issues — seven questions in all, totaling just under a billion bucks — will be on the Nov. 8 municipal ballot in Denver, and Mayor Michael Hancock is gearing up for the campaign. He’ll kick off the “Yes on 2A thru 2G” campaign Saturday in west Denver’s Rude Park.

The $937 million bond package — which, backers point out, won’t include and increase in tax rates — will upgrade infrastructure and amenities of just about every kind throughout the City and County of Denver. Libraries, the art museum, roads, bridges, rec centers and much, much more are all up for makeovers. The bond will buy a new building for Denver Health, too. The list is broken down into categories covered by the seven ballot questions.

From a press release today announcing the campaign kickoff:

Our Denver is mobilizing voters to support measures 2A through 2G on the November ballot. These bond proposals will fix and repair our roads and bridges, police and fire stations, parks and recreation centers, Denver Health, libraries, museums, theaters and the zoo. By voting yes on measures 2A through 2G this November, Denver voters will be supporting repairs and improvements to the city’s infrastructure and facilities so Denver remains a great place to live.

And here are the specifics of Saturday’s event:

WHO: Mayor Hancock, City Councilman Paul Lopez, Sun Valley resident Lisa Saenz, and Katie McKenna, Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee

WHAT: Our Denver Campaign Kick-off

WHERE: Rude Park, West 13th Avenue and Decatur Street, Denver, CO 80204

WHEN: 10 a.m., Saturday