Fridays: Boycott The Tattered Cover

January 5, 2014 in Event, Featured, Press

When: Every Friday night, 5:30 p.m.

Where: 1628 16th Street, Denver, CO 80202

 

Every Friday we Boycott at the Tattered Cover Bookstore. They have refused to come out against the Urban Camping Ban. They have taken a side in support of the Ban by refusing to do so and by being a member of the Downtown Denver Partnership.

This is a human issue, not the false political issue it has been turned into by the Downtown Denver Partnership, which is nothing more than greedy Denver corporations who control Denver’s politics, rather than the citizens.

Tattered Cover has chosen profits over the well-being of their fellow citizens. They should be ashamed of themselves!

http://www.downtowndenver.org/html/badbusiness_0.html

International Boycott The Palm Protest

October 5, 2013 in Press

Contact:

Boycott the Urban Camping Ban Coalition – Denver
https://www.facebook.com/BoycottUCB/
Twitter: @BoycottUCB  #BoycottUCB

The Palm Restaurant
Withdraws Support of Denver’s Urban Camping Ban Ordinance

DENVER, CO. (October 18, 2013) – The Boycott the Urban Camping Ban Coalition is pleased to announce that The Palm Restaurant has officially withdrawn support for Denver’s Urban Camping Ban Ordinance passed in May  2012.

On May 6, 2012, Occupy Denver held their first Boycott in protest of the Urban Camping Ban at Snooze A.M. Eatery.1  It was attended by not just members of Occupy Denver, but activists from Denver and surrounding areas who were concerned about the treatment of their fellow human beings, the homeless.

The “Urban Camping” Ban Ordinance was passed by the Denver City Council on May 14, 2012, at which time an ongoing weekly protest lead by Janet Matzen and Occupy Denver began at Snooze A.M. Eatery and later attracted coalition partners.  On April 5, 2013, Snooze issued a statement reversing their position in support of the Ban.2

On April 26, 2013, the Boycott was moved to The Palm Restaurant Denver and a weekly Friday night boycott began.3  Despite concerted efforts by the Denver City Council through the Denver Police Department to quash Boycotters’ Constitutional rights to free speech and protest, the protest continued strongly and garnered International support. 4

Today, we are pleased to announce that The Palm Restaurant, who we truly believe cares for the plight of the homeless, announced they no longer support the “Urban Camping” Ban Ordinance.  We thank The Palm Restaurant for standing with the homeless and calling for the repeal of the “Urban Camping” Ban in Denver.

Once again, we urge all businesses and organizations in Denver to review the Denver Homeless Out Loud Report5 on the implementation and impacts the Ban has had and call for its repeal.

Janet Matzen
Boycott The Palm
Occupy Denver
MoveOn Denver Metro

Special Thanks to:

International coalition of citizens and groups concerned for our homeless communities
Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition
Occupy London
International Socialist Organization
PopularResistance.org

Statement released on Palm Denver Facebook Page, which will be sent via e-mail and letter to Mayor Hancock and the Denver City Council:

“Since opening in 1996, The Denver Palm has supported the city’s homeless community. Currently, The Denver Palm teams up with WeDon’tWaste.org to distribute nutritious food to vulnerable populations, donating our restaurant grade leftovers every Friday morning. We believe it is important to help lift up our homeless neighbors.

In 2012, when the Urban Camping Ban (“the Ban”) proposal was presented, we believed it would provide more support in the form of shelters, mental health services, and general assistance for Denver’s growing homeless population. There are far too many homeless people in metro Denver, and many of them have no option but to sleep outside on the streets. Since the Ban became law in May 2012, service providers have failed to meet the overwhelming need for safe places to sleep. The stated goals of the Ban included improving the business climate and appearance of central downtown areas; police being able to offer service alternatives that help connect homeless people to healthy alternatives to the street; and improving the quality of life as they move off the streets, into shelters, and access needed services. However, a recent survey of over 512 homeless individuals reported that the Ban,while achieving an improved appearance of central downtown, has done so at the expense of the well-being of Denver’s homeless population. It says that rather than accessing more services, it’s been shown they have moved to less safe locations and become harder for those offering services to find. “The inability to wrap oneself in a blanket when exposed to the difficulties of winter seems unjust.”

We believe the Ban should be amended or repealed to more effectively meet the needs of our homeless community.

We urge immediate action to help the homeless community of Denver, for example, dialogue between city officials and the homeless commissions, advocacy groups and homeless people themselves.”

https://www.facebook.com/PalmRestaurantDenver/posts/666061866745554

For more information about the Urban Camping Ban and Supporting links:

1 http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2012/05/occupy_denver_snooze_urban_cam.php
2 https://www.facebook.com/BoycottUCB/posts/527052630670236
3 http://occupydenver.org/boycott-palm/
4 http://www.popularresistance.org/stop-criminalizing-homelessness-international-boycott-of-palm-restaurant/
5 http://issuu.com/denverhomelessoutloud/docs/surveyreport

For media inquiries:

Send messages to the official Boycott the Urban Camping Ban Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/BoycottUCB  OR Email to BoycottUCB@gmail.com

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Fridays: Boycott The Palm for Support of the “Urban Camping” Ban

April 26, 2013 in Press, Video

When: Fridays at 5 p.m.
Where:
 The Palm, 1672 Lawrence St, Denver, CO 80202 (map)

An Open Letter to The Palm
First Anniversary of the “Urban Camping” Ban (pdf)

This action seeks to highlight the role of The Palm and the Colorado Restaurant Association in pushing an ordinance through the city council that criminalized the survival act of sleeping by our homeless friends. Wendy Klein, the sales manager at The Palm, testified for the Downtown Denver Partnership in support of the “Urban Camping” Ban. Detailed information on the impact of the “Urban Camping” Ban on the homeless can be found at Denver Homeless Out Loud.

Wendy Klein, sales manager at The Palm, spoke in strong favor of the ordinance criminalizing homelessness at the April 30, 2012 city council public hearing about the “Urban Camping” Ban. She also brought the unanimous vote of the Colorado Restaurant Association in support of the ban to the City Council.

According to Kline who could only refer to the homeless as they or it, “they are lining up outside our doors even as we speak this evening placing their property on our property to save their nights real estate so that they will have a safe, warm place to sleep impeding our guests and even those who are walking back and forth from the restaurant…Now with the warmer weather descending, we are seeing it come back in full force. Our people are asking us what we can do.”

The wealthiest “movers and shakers” in Denver meet to eat, socialize and make deals at Palm Restaurant.

Occupy Denver calls on The Palm, the Colorado Restaurant Association, the Downtown Denver Partnership and the City Council to take the lead of other cities and pursue compassionate, justice-based alternatives instead of criminalizing homelessness. We call on business groups to increase funding for initiatives that will eradicate homelessness.

Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities, a report from the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, provides many alternatives to the criminalization of homelessness.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • Instead of criminalizing homelessness, local governments, business groups, and law enforcement officials should work with homeless people, providers, and advocates for solutions to prevent and end homelessness.
  • Cities should dedicate more resources to creating more affordable housing, permanent supportive housing, emergency shelters, and homeless services in general. To address street homelessness, cities should adopt or dedicate more resources to outreach programs, emergency shelter, and permanent supportive housing.
  • Business groups can play a positive role in helping to address the issue of homelessness. Instead of advocating for criminalization measures, business groups can put resources into solutions to homelessness.
  • When cities work with homeless persons and advocate for solutions to homelessness, instead of punishing those who are homeless or poor, everyone benefits.

Snooze Comes Out Against the “Urban Camping” Ban

April 5, 2013 in Press

We thank Snooze AM Eatery for standing with the homeless and calling for the repeal of the “Urban Camping” Ban in Denver. We urge all businesses and organizations in Denver to review the recent Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) report on the impact of the camping ban on the homeless community and call for its repeal.

- Boycott Snooze, Occupy Denver and MoveOn Denver Metro –

The Snooze AM Eatery statement in full:

Since we established Snooze in the heart of the 5 points/Arapahoe Square and the Ballpark Neighborhoods, Snooze has worked to support and help Denver’s homeless community. We have embraced this endeavor by hiring and providing employment, sitting on the board of the Denver Homeless Commission, fundraising, creating a mentoring program through Urban Peak, volunteering and spreading awareness to support the homeless. When the Urban Camping Ban proposal was presented to us, we believed the Ban would provide and allow for more services and support in the form of shelters, mental health and general assistance for our area homeless. We believe that the Urban Camping Ban has not provided these opportunities and should be repealed or amended to more effectively meet the needs of our homeless community. As always, our goal at Snooze is to support and assist any endeavor that strives to improve and better the lives of our homeless community. To that end, we believe that the Urban Camping Ban has not met the needs of Denver’s homeless community and we respectively ask the city of Denver as well as the business community at large to work towards repeal or modification of the Urban Camping Ban and work towards an effective solution for Denver’s business and homeless communities.

Respectfully,

Snooze

PrideFest: Stonewall Occupied

June 9, 2012 in Event, Press

June is LGBTQ Pride Month in recognition of the historic moment when our LGBTQ sisters and brothers stood up, fought back, and said they would no longer accept second-class status to heterosexuals. We owe much to these early activists. June 27, 1969 was a watershed moment in the life of the LGBTQ equality movement. That night the NYC police force raided a Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. Such raids were not unusual in 1969; in fact, they were conducted regularly without much resistance. However, that night the street erupted into protest as the crowd in the bar fought back.

Activists drew a line in the sand that summer night in 1969. In a similar way, Occupy also drew a line in the sand about corporate sovereignty over modern life when we occupied Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011.

PrideFest Information

Visit Occupy Denver’s Booth (June 16 & 17). Our booth is located at A-12. Section A is highlighted on this map. You may download a complete schedule of events on the foldout map provided by The Center.

March with Occupy Denver in the Pride Parade (June 17). Occupy Denver’s float building team will be assembling at 7:30 a.m. in Cheesman Park. We are in the Blue section, position 8 (find the blue balloons). If you plan to march with us, you need to be in position with us by 9:00 a.m. for the 9:30 a.m. departure.

***UPDATE**** Pink Bloc Imminent!

We are encouraging occupiers to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community by forming a  ”Pink Bloc.”

Join with Occupy Denver. Occupy Denver General Assemblies meet on Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. in Lincoln Park. If you’d like some help getting involved, please fill out our interest form. You may also join Occupy Denver’s OccuPride Facebook Page.

Denver’s Proud History of LGBTQ Activism and Beyond

In 1972, Denver’s LGBTQ community fought the police and City Hall protesting Vice Squad round-ups of gay men and harassment of the gay and lesbian community—and won! Attorney Gerald Gerash, one of the founding fathers of Denver’s LGBTQ community, spoke at a recent Occupy Denver teach-in about this important history. The sacrifice of activists like Gerash laid the foundation for several stunning landmark victories like Romer v. Evans, a 1990 Colorado case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. This case was cited 7 times in support by Judge Vaughn Walker in his right-to-marry ruling striking down Proposition 8.

LGBTQ activism continued into the 1980’s with ACT UP: “that a despised group of people with no rights or representation, who were abandoned by their government, families, and society, facing a terminal illness, bonded together against great odds and forced this culture–against its will–to change its behavior towards people with AIDS, thereby saving each other’s lives.” (1) Sarah Schulman writes, “To do this ACT UP had to identify what needed to be changed, identify the individuals who were obstructing that change, clearly propose courses of action that were doable and justifiable, and then force the people with power–through the tactic of direct action–to do something different than what they wanted to do. Making people accountable is always in the interest of justice.” (2)

It was in the spirit of ACT UP that Occupy Denver recently conducted a series of direct actions to challenge the corporate interests driving Denver’s “Urban Camping” Ban that criminalized homelessness. We did so understanding that 40% of homeless youth in the United States are LGBTQ. This ordinance will drive homeless youth into the shadows and put them at further risk of harm. We acted up.

On the same day that the Denver City Council criminalized the survival act of sleeping by LGBTQ youth, Colorado House Republicans used a series of political maneuvers to kill the Civil Unions Bill.

We need to act up together. There is much work ahead.

As we march in a PrideFest awash with corporate sponsorship, let’s remember the early days of the LGBTQ movement–the days before the community had access to corporate-funded foundation money (3). If you’re inspired, we invite you to march with us, visit our booth and join with Occupy Denver.

P.S. How is the LGBTQ community impacted by economic injustice? Check out Tidal Wave: LGBT Poverty & Hardship in a Time of Economic Crisis (pdf) by Queers for Economic Justice, an LGBTQ organization dedicated to working for economic justice.

PrideFest is an Occupy Denver GA approved event. This announcement comes from the OccuPride working group of the Outreach Committee.

—–

(1) Schulman, Sarah. The Gentrificaiton of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination. University of California Press, 2012, pg. 156.
(2) Schulman, pg. 52-53.
(3) INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. South End Press, 2007.

Occupy Denver Responds to the Implementation of the “Urban Camping” Ban

May 28, 2012 in Press

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Occupy Denver Responds to the Implementation of the “Urban Camping” Ban

While the City of Denver’s implementation of an unjust and shameful ordinance to criminalize homelessness will negatively impact the homeless population, it has also reaffirmed Occupy Denver’s fight for social justice. Although the wealthy and the powerful control our institutions of government, the solidarity and power of this people’s movement will not be deterred. The greed of the 1% resulting in this economic recession has increased the numbers of homeless on our streets and now they are being targeted with criminal sanctions for attempting to survive. Occupy is the future and thus our work continues.

Join us for General Assemblies on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. in Lincoln Park (near the Denver Capitol) and visit occupydenver.org for information about our committees, working groups, direct actions, and on-going campaigns.

Implementation Red Flags: From the moment this ordinance was proposed by Councilman Brooks (District 8), there has been blatant manipulation and deception in the process:

  • The ordinance was assigned to the wrong committee so that it would advance
  • The Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness was bypassed
  • The homeless were not consulted
  • Not a single change to the ordinance was made to address the concerns of Denver-based providers and the large number of speakers who opposed the ordinance
  • Little effort was made to pair resources with the ordinance

The process has been an affront to democracy, transparency and accountability. It became clear early on that promises had been made to the Downtown Denver Partnership that it would pass. To quote Councilwoman Shepherd, “I know the way this vote is going to go. I know it. And I think you all know how this vote is going to go too. And unfortunately, the sad thing about it is that it has been like that from day one.”

Assurances were made over and over again that few arrests would be made, that a Sergeant would have to be called in if an arrest was even considered, and that the purpose of the police stop was to find the correct way and place to assist the homeless person. This would include a bed for as long as needed, mental health counseling, help with addictions and alcoholism, special help for abused women and LGBT people who might face discrimination in some shelter situations. To accomplish all of this, it was said that a system would be devised using United Ways 211 line. Instead, in flyers and at police meetings in the shelters, we are hearing about the homeless not being allowed to eat on the streets, $35.00 court costs, possible one year jail terms and/or a $999.00 fine. All of these issues could have been anticipated, discussed and worked out if the Downtown Denver Partnership was neither so influential nor in such a hurry to push this ordinance through.

Accountability and Future Action: Occupy Denver will carry out its fight for economic justice on at least four fronts. We will: (1) continue to publicly hold accountable Downtown Denver Partnership members who pursued their private interests at the expense of the fulfillment of the basic human needs of our most vulnerable population; (2) continue to publicly hold accountable those City Council members who joined these businesses in this class war, making public policy a vehicle for the private and divisive interests of the wealthy; (3) continue to fight for increased public spending on shelter beds, social services, and affordable housing for the homeless. This will include a campaign to establish a dedicated funding source, for which Councilwoman Kniech has advocated. “For high priorities, we typically institutionalize the funding sources,” said Kniech. “If it is an ongoing high priority, we owe it to all programs to institutionalize the funding,” and (4) monitor the enforcement of this ordinance by the Denver Police Department.

A photograph of the flyers handed out last week by the DPD in Lincoln Park:

 

Shame: Denver City Council Criminalizes Homelessness

May 15, 2012 in Press

Photo by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

To the surprise of no one, the “Criminalize Homelessness” ordinance put forth by the Denver City Council passed by a vote of 9-4. To call this a “camping ban” is disingenuous at best — camping is something people with houses do.

Councilwoman Montero accused us tonight of being Hit and Run activists. What is really hit and run is the ordinance itself.

If we take the city at its word, and not at the verbiage of this fascist piece of legislation, we are expected to believe that there will be few arrests, and then only after unavailable services have been offered.

Chief White says that the police will have a “light touch.” We would like to remind the city that Denver County Jail is no day spa, in fact we’re quite sure there’s not a hot tub in the building.

The Denver Police claim that this bill will be selectively enforced. What that means, literally, is that if they don’t like where you are, who you are, or what you stand for, then you might be arrested. We remember when the Patriot Act was passed, we were told that it would only apply to terrorists, now petty NSA surveillance, TSA strip-searches, and the death of habeas corpus are an accepted reality to all Americans.

Homelessness is the ultimate symptom of a dying economy. To arrest people for sleeping on the streets because you don’t like the way it looks, is like throwing pumpkin seeds at an oncoming bear.

Councilman Lopez was right, “this is class war.”

Unfortunately, the front line is now the most vulnerable members of our community.

Shame.

Shame.

Shame.

Council President Chris Nevitt shouts "I need order, goddamn it!", unable to handle any audience deviation from his orchestrated theater of the evening. Photo by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Attendees demonstrate how powerful business interests have pushed through this ordinance, despite massive public outcry. Money has silenced the will of the people. Photo by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Just Say No to “Unconventional Oil”: Stop Fracking Colorado!

May 12, 2012 in Event, Press

Members of local environmentalist groups will team up with Occupy Denver to rally and protest an upcoming “unconventional” oil and gas convention at the Colorado Convention Center, where former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum will be present as a speaker promoting the interests of the ideologically counter-progressive 1%.

When: Tuesday, May 15th from 11:00am to 2:00pm
Where: By the “blue bear” on 14th and Stout, 700 14th Street.


The purpose of this rally is to let the corporate execs and engineers who pack this convention know that turning Colorado into a dead zone for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and oil shale development is decidedly NOT OK with us; also to raise concern among the general public about the dangers of unconventional methods of oil development. We will rally outside the Colorado Convention Center before and during Rick Santorum’s keynote speech (which begins at noon) to let people know what’s going on inside, and what this means for the future of our state—unless we put an end to it. An open mic forum will be held to address issues crucial to the physical health of our people as well as the environmental/ ecological health of our state.

Be sure to make a visible sign so that you can send your message to all inside, and to the general public outside. (Possible sign-making ideas: “Colorado Not For Sale”; “There Be Frackers In Here”; “No Country For Old White Frackers,” etc.) We also encourage anyone to bring theatrical ideas to dramatize this event (haz-mat suits, EPA inspector costumes, gas masks, “fracking fluid,” etc. would be quite appropriate here).

A few additional details about this convention may help to explain why we are protesting it. For one thing, the name of it is significant: “Developing Unconventional Oil: North America’s Bountiful Resource.” (“Bountiful” is obviously code for “plenty,” as in “ripe for profit,” etc.) For another thing, the cost to get in this conference/ exhibition is $995 per person, guaranteeing that no representative of the soiled masses shall enter. (In all fairness, it should be noted that the cost is generously reduced to $885 per person if you’re with a group of four or more. So how can you call that ‘elitist’?) Oh, and leading sponsors for the convention include Haliburton among others. Really, need we say more?

For a more in-depth account of what this is all about, here is a brief description taken straight from the website’s welcome page: “In 2011 alone, 67% of DUO’s audience was corporate and engineering management along with research and development. Operating and financial companies accounted for over 55% of conference delegates.” So this is kinda like a country club gathering for oil tycoons. Full details about the conference are available at http://www.hartduo.com/. The “conference agenda” is well worth a look. If you’re interested in finding links to articles with titles like “Why BP May Be The Ultimate ‘Bounce-Back’ Stock,” the website may be worth browsing at some length. And finally, should you have any questions about the event (like, “Why does it cost so much?”), there are plenty of folks on staff to answer them via email.

In case anyone should like to make a more permanent presence at this event—or rather, outside of it—it should be noted that the convention actually begins on Monday, May 14th at 1:00 PM and ends at noon on Wednesday, May 16th. So, if you have spare time, feel free to greet these people as they come in, or bid them farewell as they leave, letting them know exactly what you think about their intentions to ‘develop’ “unconventional oil” in Colorado. They might tell you that it’s in the best interest of Coloradans, that it’s good for the economy, that it creates jobs, and so on.

What would you like to tell them?

Join Us to Protest Downtown Denver Partnership Support for “Urban Camping” Ban

May 10, 2012 in Press, Video

Flashmob Protests During May Day / City Council Public Hearings, April 30th

The Downtown Denver People’s Partnership including organizations like the Denver Catholic Worker and Occupy Denver will conduct a series of protests leading up to the Monday night city council vote on an ordinance that will criminalize the survival act of sleeping by our homeless friends. The protests seek to highlight the business influence pushing this ordinance through city council.

Saturday, May 12th Actions:

6:00 to 8:00 pm: Protest at the Palm Restaurant, 1672 Lawrence Street, Denver, CO 80202 (map) and other members of the Downtown Denver Partnership supporting this ordinance. Meet at 5:30 pm in Lincoln Park if you’d like to march to the Palm Restaurant via City Hall.

8:00 pm overnight: Mass overnight sleep-in protest in front of the Downtown Denver Partnership, 511 16th Street, Denver, CO 80202 (Between Glenarm Place and Welton Street) (map). Bring your sleeping bags and/or blankets for an all night sleep-in.

Monday, May 14th Actions:

Noon to 5:30 pm: Bring your sleeping bags and/or blankets for a day-long rally on the City Council steps (City and County Building, 1437 Bannock St, Denver, Colorado 80202). From noon until 5:30 there will be a series of actions and speeches highlighting the injustice of this ordinance. The City and County Building will be open to the public, let your voice be heard.

4:30 pm: Rally to OPPOSE the “Urban Camping” Ban at the City and County Building (1437 Bannock St, Denver, Colorado 80202)

5:30pm: We will enter the building to the City Council Chambers with our blankets and sleeping bags to crowd the council meeting in opposition to this ordinance.

Corporate and business interests in downtown Denver coalesce in the Downtown Denver Partnership, an organization that believes the homeless “will drive future conventions, tourists, residents and businesses from downtown.” Partnership members control billions of dollars of assets. The opportunities to obtain funds for campaigns and city services from the corporations represented by the partnership are clearly tempting city council members away from their duty to listen to the people who elected them and to find compassionate ways to eradicate homelessness.

The Downtown Denver People’s Partnership has information from a reliable source that the partnership has been discussing this ordinance for two years. After the ordinance emerged from “embargo” at Councilman Brooks’ office, it has consistently appeared like a “done deal.” City council insiders Shepherd and Lopez have consistently pointed this out. Before the ordinance passed first reading, Councilwoman Shepherd said, “I know the way this vote is going to go. I know it. And I think you all know how this vote is going to go too. And unfortunately, the sad thing about it, is that it has been like that from day one.”

While this ordinance was embargoed, Mayor Hancock and Councilman Brooks bypassed consulting the Denver Homeless Commission, the Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation and the homeless themselves. Little effort was made to pair adequate resources with the ordinance.

While the Bill Request specifically states that ordinances like this “are justified on the basis protecting the health, safety and general welfare of the public,” the ordinance was assigned to the Land Use committee instead of the Health and Safety committee. As Councilman Lopez pointed out, this was done so that it would advance. All amendments to make the ordinance safer have been rejected.

Mayor Hancock is already training the police on implementing this ordinance before it has even passed.

Protests

The Downtown People’s Partnership plans to protest Palm Restaurant, the Colorado Restaurant Association and other members of the Downtown Denver Partnership that are supporting this ordinance. Colorado Restaurant Association members voted unanimously to support criminalizing homelessness. We will then conduct an all night sleep-in protest in front of the partnership itself.

Tamara Door, CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, spoke strongly in favor of the ordinance criminalizing homelessness at the city council public hearing. Door believes that, “Unauthorized camping poses a threat to the health and safety of the city’s residents, employees, visitors and to the unauthorized campers themselves.” As the Downtown Denver People‘s Partnership conducted their first sleep-in protest last week in front of The Pavillions on 16th Street Mall, we did not notice any overwhelming health and safety issues for “unauthorized campers”. On the contrary, we appreciated the well lit, safe environment provided by the 16th Street Mall.

Sleep-In Protest at The Pavillions on 16th Street Mall, Tuesday, May 1st.
All photographs by Kendra Kellogg

Like Snooze Co-Owner Brianna Borin, Door also believes the criminalization of the survival act of sleeping will assist individuals to get the help they need. According to Door, “an immediate legislative response to the overwhelming problem of unauthorized camping is necessary…In this point in time, we absolutely need to foster a safe and humane environment in downtown and it requires consequences for those who refuse assistance and continue to engage in behaviors that threaten public safety and health.”

Wendy Klein spoke on behalf of Palm Restaurant and the Colorado Restaurant Association. According to Kline who could only refer to the homeless as they or it, “they are lining up outside our doors even as we speak this evening placing their property on our property to save their nights real estate so that they will have a safe, warm place to sleep impeding our guests and even those who are walking back and forth from the restaurant…Now with the warmer weather descending, we are seeing it come back in full force. Our people are asking us what we can do.” The wealthiest “movers and shakers” in Denver meet to eat, socialize and make deals at Palm Restaurant.

The Downtown Denver People’s Partnership calls on Palm Restaurant, the Colorado Restaurant Association, the Downtown Denver Partnership and the City Council to listen to the people and take the lead of other cities and pursue compassionate, justice-based alternatives instead of criminalizing homelessness. We call on business groups to increase funding for initiatives that will eradicate homelessness.

Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities, a report from the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, provides many alternatives to the criminalization of homelessness.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • Instead of criminalizing homelessness, local governments, business groups, and law enforcement officials should work with homeless people, providers, and advocates for solutions to prevent and end homelessness.
  • Cities should dedicate more resources to creating more affordable housing, permanent supportive housing, emergency shelters, and homeless services in general. To address street homelessness, cities should adopt or dedicate more resources to outreach programs, emergency shelter, and permanent supportive housing.
  • Business groups can play a positive role in helping to address the issue of homelessness. Instead of advocating for criminalization measures, business groups can put resources into solutions to homelessness.
  • When cities work with homeless persons and advocate for solutions to homelessness, instead of punishing those who are homeless or poor, everyone benefits.

Downtown Denver People’s Partnership Protests Snooze

May 6, 2012 in Press

The Downtown Denver People’s Partnership Protests Local Eatery’s Support for “Urban Camping” Ban; Councilman Albus Brooks and Downtown Denver Business Partnership CEO, Tami Door, make appearances

When: Sunday, May 6th from 9 a.m. to noon
Where: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, 2262 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado

Approximately fifty people associated with the Denver People’s Partnership, which includes organizations such as the Denver Catholic Worker, the Thunderdome, and Occupy Denver, held a “snooze-in” outside of Snooze, an A.M. Eatery this morning. The action sought to highlight the role that Snooze, as a member of the Downtown Denver Partnership, has played in pushing an ordinance through the Denver City Council. Brianna Borin, co-owner of Snooze, has been the public face of businesses supporting the ordinance, which would de facto criminalize homelessness. Community groups and homeless providers are united in their opposition to the proposed ban.

During the peaceful action, which drew a heavy police presence, protesters rolled out their sleeping bags in front of the establishment, carried signs against the ordinance, and engaged customers to discuss the proposed ban. Contrary to Borin’s claims that the homeless are hampering the eatery’s ability to provide the “most amazing breakfast experience possible,” wait times for customers outside of the restaurant exceeded 1.5 hours. A number of customers signed a petition against the ordinance and expressed dismay at Snooze’s support for the ban.

Councilman Albus Brooks, sponsor of the ordinance, made an appearance, engaged demonstrators, and denied his previous claims that the ordinance was intended to serve the interests of Denver businesses. Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, who together with Brianna Borin, testified in favor of the ordinance at a City Council public hearing on Monday, April 30, was also on site. She was dining with Roxane White (founder of Urban Peak ), Governor Hickenlooper’s chief of staff. Asked about her position, Roxane White stated that while she is not entirely against the idea of an ordinance prohibiting camping at some point in the future, she stated this ordinance does not address the complexity of homelessness as a whole.

Demonstrators associated with the Thunderdome, which provides free food to the hungry, were threatened with arrest if they attempted to feed anyone. The planned “People’s Pancake Picnic” was thus short-lived.

Community groups have other actions planned before the City Council’s final vote on May 14.

All photographs by Kendra Kellogg, licensed cc-by-sa-nc