This is the ninth in our series on the Denver mayoral candidates, based on their responses to a Westword questionnaire sent to every contender on the ballot last month.
Robert Treta thinks that if the Mile High City got better at building housing, it would ameliorate many of the issues facing Denver. Treta, a builder himself, would bring his expertise to the mayor's office, helping enable the construction of thousands of units. This would get people off the streets, and the city's other challenges would be more solvable as a result, he contends.
Aside from his time in the building business, Treta has worked as an English-language teacher and lived in both Mexico and Japan. He drives electric vehicles that are solar-powered, and has built green-energy homes that are powered by solar.
Why are you running for mayor?
I am running for mayor of Denver to build 7,000 attached, tandem, 16-by-16-foot cubicle dwellings at the cost of $25,000 per unit, complete with private bathrooms and kitchens. This is entry-level housing that no Denverite will ever fall below. The homeless crisis is a direct result of failed policies and failed acknowledgment of affordable housing in Denver. As a 27-year builder in the city of Denver, I have seen many mistakes. Denver needs to get in front of and ahead of its problems before they reach crisis proportions.
I am also running for mayor to make Denver the most environmentally friendly city in the country. I will incentivize solar and electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city using cost-effective technologies. We need to add to our electrical infrastructure on as many rooftops as we can. The EV revolution is fully on its way, and not only is Denver not ready, but Denver is way behind.
What is your plan to tackle homelessness?
Within sixty days in office, I will establish legalized camping zones complete with electricity and portalets. After these camping zones are established, there will be no more camping on the streets. Rules against illegal camping on the streets will be enforced. After one year, I will turn the homeless into homeowners. I will build 7,000 permanent homes with 56,000 solar panels for anyone who needs one. These dwellings will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. I will accomplish this for 5 to 10 percent of what Denver is currently spending. I believe 95 percent of the homeless will desire one of these dwellings. Services will be provided in an extremely cost-effective way due to housing these homeless residents in a specific area rather than scattered throughout Denver.
Would you end homeless encampment sweeps?
After sixty days, the legalized camping zones will be established. Laws against camping illegally on streets will be enforced after sixty days, with the offer to reserve a permanent dwelling for homeless individuals.
What is your plan to improve public safety in Denver?
My plan is to hire more police officers, increase the Denver Police Department budget to go toward training for these officers, and substantially increase the budget for our internal affairs department. Police and community engagement is critical. Ultimately, police should live in the districts that they serve. Police having a sense of ownership in the districts where they serve is paramount to relationship building and trust with residents.
How will you work with Denver Public Schools to improve education and safety in schools?
I believe police resource officers should be staffed at any Denver public school that requests one. I would like to have an increased dialogue with DPS about different curriculum opportunities that exist outside of the traditional ones, such as more student-driven, practical skills-based learning, therefore empowering students to take control of their own education.
What is your stance on the Park Hill Golf Course development proposal?
I would like to see the Park Hill Golf Course developed in a way that quickly serves the residents of Denver in the most effective way. I am not sure if we negotiated this thing right with the developers. I would like to take a closer look at this to make sure that Denver is getting a fair deal from this development.
How can Denver significantly expand its affordable housing stock?
Denver can increase density with a few different techniques: 1) Denver should allow accessory dwelling units to be implemented city-wide, 2) Denver should allow a two-family zoning code within the single-family residential code, 3) Bring back the R-2 zoning code that was taken away in 2003.
Denver also needs to rebuild the building department completely. Building permits that used to take one day are now taking over one year. This is seriously contributing to the lack of affordable housing in the city of Denver. Unnecessary building expenses are ultimately passed onto the consumer and unnecessarily add to the cost of every construction project in Denver, thereby contributing to rent increases and the cost of homeownership.
Denver has historically been a car-centric city. Should the city take significant road space from cars for other forms of transportation (walking, rolling, biking, scootering, bus, etc.)?
I don’t believe so at this point.
What would you do if the Denver Broncos demand public dollars as a requirement for keeping the stadium in the Mile High City?
Start packing your bags; it is time that these major cities draw a line in the sand. I hope other cities will join in not allowing this to happen anymore. I would like to start a coalition with other cities to put an end to this behavior once and for all. I believe it should be illegal for sports teams to hold cities for ransom.
Violence during let-out in LoDo has been an issue for years. Would you support a staggered closing time that ends at 4 a.m.?
No, but I would suggest establishing a very big police presence in LoDo during these times.
What question do you wish we'd asked?
"Do you lead by example? Do you implement ideas in your personal life before you impose them on the City of Denver?"
See answers from Kelly Brough, Thomas Wolf, Lisa Calderón, Andy Rougeot, Ean Tafoya, Renate Behrens, Debbie Ortega, James Walsh, Robert Treta, Leslie Herod, Chris Hansen, Mike Johnston, Trinidad Rodriguez, Aurelio Martinez, Terrance Roberts and Al Gardner.