Although he's technically not a native, having moved to this state as a baby, "Colorado is all I know, it is home," wrote Patrick J. Mims in "Damn, but Denver Is Lame," his op-ed we published last week.
But the 32-year-old recently moved to San Francisco, and he had some words of warning in this goodbye missive, which began: "Denver has so many redeeming qualities. There are so many chill spots. The music scene is legitimate; it's remarkable how many big-name and small-name artists roll through Denver. But lately, the chill spots and the concerts are populated by rude douchebags. The caliber of people who are migrating to the city is low."
His piece inspired plenty of responses from natives and non-natives, douchebags and good Denverites alike. Says B:
You are so dead-on it's not even funny. Great article.
Dumbest op-ed I’ve read in a long time...over-generalizations in general make you look like a fucking idiot.
I’ve been here for thirty years reading your rag and that was the best article I’ve read yet! Way to hit the nail on the head! Loved it!
I couldn't agree more with Patrick Mims's article. I sold my townhouse (Marion and 21st) in November and moved to Tucson...where I bought a 3 bedroom/3 bath newer house with a frickin' swimming pool. Real estate is less than 50 percent the cost of Denver. I made out like a bandit.
I was soo over Denver for exactly the reasons mentioned in this article. Denver is no longer cool. I lived in Denver for 23 years! It is now totally lame. I used to miss it, and love returning. Now I don't care if I ever go back.
Boo hoo, Denver's growing and I'm sad about it because not everyone meets my incredibly specific nativist standards. And, of course, everyone Denver-born and -bred are just the best people without exception.
Author, do you listen to yourself?
But Andrew responds:
I agree with the author. People are taking advantage of our laidback nature. It used to be a thing that people who visited or moved here took care of themselves/our state and liked the vibe. Now, being or driving anywhere everyone is a super aggressive, everyone is trashing the place (it’s hard to not find garbage and heroin needles everywhere), and now all of the natives/locals are getting pissed off because they can’t even afford to live here.
It would be fine if everyone had a little decency or respect for Denver, but it seems like that is the exception and not the rule. For those who do, we see you. For those who don’t, GET OUT.
I bet this guy cries twice a week that he can't put a "Native" sticker on his Jeep.
Several readers focused their responses on San Francisco, where Mims recently moved.
...as someone who moved to Denver from San Francisco, I had to laugh at Patrick bemoaning transplants affecting local culture... and then he's moving to San Francisco! Where people have been bitching about this very issue non-stop for the past twenty years! Probably more than in any other city in the U.S.!
I think Patrick will see that people who move to Colorado do it much more for the lifestyle and they do participate in events, the festivals, the culinary/beer scene, the outdoor activities — much more so than in SF, where you have to have a trust fund or work like crazy in tech/finance to afford to live there!
This weekend, as I watched tens of thousands of runners in the Colfax Marathon, I was amazed at the number of people wearing Colorado/Buffaloes/Denver gear. I'm sure there were plenty of Cubs hats, too. But really... people love living here, even the transplants like me. Try finding that local pride at the Biofreeze Marathon in San Francisco!
Good luck to Patrick in San Francisco: I hope he finds some folks who aren't "basic" out there! Certainly they won't be making a basic income or basic net worth, if they want to live in a basic apartment :)
As a soon-to-be Bay Area-to-Denver transplant, can you provide me with tips on how to appropriately assimilate to your culture? I really enjoyed your article and empathize with your concern with all these "basic" people moving to the city you love. I found myself cringing at some items on your list of types of people who have been moving to Denver. Obviously, moving to a new city we bring with us our own culture and way of doing things, I feel like it's when people assume their new city should accommodate their expectations and are unwilling to adapt to local culture that we get into trouble. I've spent time trying to learn as much as I can about Denver news and culture ahead of moving, and promise to do my best to not be an obnoxious a-hole who drives like an idiot in the snow and pretends to know everything about your town.
And finally, there's this from Elizabeth, "California transplant, former Nob Hill apartment dweller, current East Denver homeowner looking for the soul of this town":
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Man, thanks for this op-ed. I've been in Denver since 2011, moved from SF myself, in fact, and I can't say I didn't laugh at every word Mims wrote. I laughed a lot, in fact. Out loud.
I never thought Denver was lame, per se, but compared to SF, yeah, it had something lacking. But I was never really able to fully articulate what it was about Denver. I applaud Mims for putting it to words. Denver is cool in its own right, but because of how laidback Denverites are, there's no enforcement of the culture, no standards to uphold. Can you even imagine a native San Franciscan — hell, a transplant, even — not immediately correcting some well-meaning gumby newcomer who deigns to call The City "Frisco"? Unimaginable. And yet, here in Denver, we have that nonsense served up 24/7 from ignorant, bland newcomers who think they're the first to have discovered skiing, fourteeners, weed or Red Rocks. I find it amusing, but also sad. Denver needs a serious injection of personality. Too bad folks like Mims, who might be the Change We Need, have up and moved to the Bay Area, where you can find some actual native, home-grown civic culture and people who are passionate enough about the whole deal to uphold it. Even if it means that while upholding SF culture you have to play hopscotch with syringes while strolling along Polk Street or dodge an army of homeless people shitting on the streets right next to the Mayor's office.
Thanks for this, Mr. Mims. Now, GTFO of the Bay Area and come back here and help Make Denver Great Again.
Mims appreciates the irony of the fact that he's now a transplant in San Francisco. "I will now be part of the problem, and San Franciscans can bitch about me," he admitted.
Just as he bitched about transplants with this: "The culture of Denver and Colorado, in general, is welcoming and carefree. We value a person's right to independence. We were the first state to legalize recreational weed, but we also have some of the loosest gun laws in the country. We're also one of the few states where you can legally ride your motorcycle without a helmet. We don't like people telling us what to do, and in turn, we respectfully refrain from telling others what to do. This incredible principle is our demise, as we let transplants do whatever the fuck they want."
What did you think of Patrick Mims's piece? (You can read "Damn, but Denver Is Getting Lame" here.) Share your own response in a comment, or email email@example.com.