The proprietors of Snooze were surprised to find themselves at the center of the protest over the proposed urban camping ban after co-owner Brianna Borin spoke in favor of the ordinance at a Denver City Council hearing. Last weekend, members of Occupy Denver flocked to the original Snooze, at 23rd and Larimer streets, during peak breakfast hours, with signs accusing the restaurant of "criminalizing the homeless." But according to owner Jon Schlegel, who poured coffee for the protest, four homeless individuals were working inside the restaurant at the very time the occupiers gathered outside of it.
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Snooze is an outspoken member of the Downtown Denver Partnership, which has come out in favor of the ban that city council will take a final vote on tonight. According to Borin, Snooze's customer service is restricted by the inordinate amount of time its employees spend cleaning up situations created by the Ballpark neighborhood's homeless population.
"Each morning, Snooze managers make special accommodations to watch our employees walk from the doors of their cars to the front doors of our business just to ensure they arrive safe," she told council two weeks ago. "We also spend the first hour of our day walking around our property and picking up any trash or debris left by our neighbors who camp out. A majority of our efforts are spent on cleaning up our property, removing people from our benches that are on our patio and contacting the police during constant disruptions that happen as early as 5 a.m."
For more on the event and its aftermath -- including accusations that the restaurant's staff, some of whom identify as Jewish, are Nazis -- visit the Latest Word for our coverage of the protest and co-owner Jon Schlegel's response.