This May, Denver will choose a mayor to lead the city for the next four years. But where do candidates stand on the issues? And how do they plan to earn your vote?
As part of our mayor's race coverage, we asked each of them. Below, find out what one of the hopefuls, tech consultant Ken Simpson, had to say.
Although election day, May 7, is still months away, an important deadline is looming. Candidates have until March 13 to submit a verified petition comprising at least 300 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot.
At this writing, ten people have filed paperwork with the Denver Elections Division to run for mayor: Lisa Calderón, Stephan Elliot (also known as Chairman Seku), Marcus Giavanni, Jamie Giellis, current mayor Michael Hancock, Kalyn Heffernan, Danny Lopez, Leatha Scott, Simpson and Penfield Tate. We invited all of them to share their take on important matters facing Denver. The questions were the same for every candidate, and we set no word limit on answers.
Elliot, Scott and Lopez have not responded to our outreach thus far, though the latter spoke to us for a previous mayoral run in 2011. In addition, Giavanni declined to participate by way of a memorable reply we will share in this space. The other six took part, including Simpson, whom we profiled for a previous mayoral run in 2011.
Continue to see Simpson's takes on the issues that are front and center in Denver circa 2019.
Westword: How would you describe yourself and the reasons you decided to run for mayor?
Ken Simpson: I'm running for mayor as a regular citizen to make a difference in the lives of Denver citizens.
How would you tackle Denver's affordable-housing issues?
I would continue the polices to tackle Denver's affordable-housing problem. I would use public-private partnerships to create affordable housing.
Would you be in favor of using city land for affordable housing?
I would also use city land for affordable housing. I would model other cities who are successful in creating affordable housing.
Would you require affordable housing in every housing development? If so, why? If not, why not?
I would require affordable housing in every housing development. I would do this because it's the right thing to do and It would create more affordable housing for Denver citizens.
Do you support rent control in Denver?
I do support rent control.
Would you expand the tiny homes concept? If so, how? If not, why not?
Tiny homes should be continued to be expanded. They can be used for people who like the concept. I would utilize the current concepts being used.
How would you address homelessness in Denver?
I would continue to provide help for Denver's homeless. Homelessness will never be eradicated entirely. The homelessness policy in Denver has only produced statistics, and there are more homeless in Denver than ever before.
What's your position on the Right to Rest bill?
We should use Utah as an example in taking care of the homeless. They provide more shelter space and medical help for the homeless, and they are the role model for fighting homelessness.
Is development in Denver being done responsibly?
Development is not being done responsibly, because there are not enough affordable places for your average Denver resident.
What improvements do you believe should be made to Denver's public-transportation system? Would you support RTD fare increases? If so, why? If not, why not?
Public transportation will eventually be someone's outdated dream due to the proliferation of driverless cars, which will decrease RTD fares and eventually put them out of business unless they get in on the trends of the future with driverless cars and shuttles.
Would you work to expand Denver's bicycle network? If so, how?
I would continue to expand the bicycle networks throughout the city.
What should be done to deal with Denver's opioid crisis?
I would use the police to fight opioid use and provide help to those addicted.
What's your position on supervised use sites?
I’m totally against supervised use sites. We need more medical intervention to fight opioid abuse.
Where do you stand on social consumption venues?
I would not want those types of business in the city and county of Denver. They can use their marijuana in their private homes instead.
What can and should be done to improve law enforcement in Denver?
Community policing and broken-windows policy works to prevent crime, but sometimes you have to walk tall and carry a big stick to fight crime. When a Denver police commander tells the media that he had his officers stand down when a bunch of thugs were vandalizing the fallen police memorial, and said, "We did not want to create conflict," it sends a signal to criminals that the police are soft on crime. Saying something like that is a disgrace to the badge and the uniform. I don't think the Denver police oath says, "We will play nice with criminals."
When I'm mayor, the Denver police will run toward trouble, not turn away from it.
Do you believe reforms in the Denver Sheriff Department and the Denver Police Department have gone far enough, or are there additional measures you would institute? If so, what are they?
The reform measures in the sheriff department and police department are good, but I'm sure they could be improved if the policies for discipline are followed to the letter of the matrix used in those departments.
Do you believe the Office of the Independent Monitor should have greater investigatory powers over law enforcement leadership?
I do believe the Independent Monitor should have greater power over law enforcement leadership.
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Should the City of Denver create a mechanism that would hold the mayor more accountable?
Yes, City Council should create a mechanism to hold the mayor more accountable and involve citizens in the process.
Do you plan to live in Cableland as mayor, and if not, what should the city do with the property?
I do not plan on living in Cableland at this time.
Are there other major issues we haven't mentioned that are important to you, and if so, what are they?
Denver citizens could change voting history by electing a mayor who will help them and not electing another mayor who will look out for the self-interest of those who contributed money to them. No one gives a candidate "free" money to become mayor. They will want something in return. I, however, will represent regular citizens and make a difference in their lives because I'm not a career politician and I did not sell my soul to special-interest groups, developers, law firms or corporations. I just want to represent the people of Denver, Colorado.