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