So here are the top ten Denver resolutions for 2020.
Quit Facebook — as a City
Sure, we should be doing this on a national scale, but how cool would it be if Denver became known as the first Facebook ghost town? If Colorado can take the lead on marijuana legalization, then we can put this Zuckerbergian monstrosity down without breaking out the torches and pitchforks. (No offense to Frankenstein’s monster.) Like all lumbering bullies, Facebook can be defeated by simply refusing to pay it any attention — which is exactly what we should have been doing for at least the last decade.
The last thing Denver needs is to go down in history as the first major American city to not have a local paper. We’re not breaking any news here — it’s not like the Post’s demise is reportedly imminent. But as long as vulture capitalist hedge fund Alden Global Capital is in charge of its fate, the eventual shuttering of the venerable paper seems inevitable. Unless Denver — or, more specifically, some local business powerhouses that can play at Alden's level — can throw the process in reverse and start supporting print journalism for the vital part of American life, politics and everything that it is, we’re at risk of losing our public voice.
Keep Calling Mile High Stadium…Mile High Stadium
The fans don’t care what corporate name is on the sign, especially after the years-long comedy of errors that’s been the Broncos stadium's naming rights. With the team experiencing one of its worst seasons in recent memory, “Empower Field” was unpleasantly ironic for the 2019 season. So pass on trying to call Mile High Stadium anything else; support the team through this extended rebuilding era, keep flying and wearing the orange and blue, go to games and cheer. You know — the stuff that doesn’t change with contracts and agreements and millions of dollars spent in silly ways.
At the risk of eliciting an “OK Boomer” response, I’d just like to invite everyone addicted to the dangerous scooters to stop now before more people are killed. Is there anyone who drives in Denver left who hasn’t nearly run into one of these things going the wrong way or blowing through a stop sign or just generally being operated by people who have no earthly clue what they’re doing? There’s a reason we license drivers: so we know that if you’re behind the wheel, you have some clue as to what you’re doing. Just because you have a credit card doesn’t mean you know how to ride a motorized scooter, a truth demonstrated every day on the streets of our fair city. (Also, just to be clear, I’m not a boomer. I’m Generation X, and we as a group have been sick of everyone’s shit since the 1980s.)
Address the Homeless Issue With Some Heart
Denver, like many livable American cities, has a serious homeless problem, and we've been stumbling around for decades now trying to fix it — or at least hide it. The police sweeps have thankfully been curtailed, and the tiny-house movement has been inspirational, if not widespread enough yet to make big leaps. The current seems to be moving in the right direction, for once: Right before the New Year, Denver County Court Judge Johnny Barajas struck down the city's controversial urban camping ban, which handed homeless activists a much-needed win after Initiative 300 lost the popular vote earlier in the year. The issue is far from settled; the ruling will almost certainly be challenged in higher court. Ultimately, it's only a step toward a better solution, essentially decriminalizing homelessness, not addressing the issue at its root. But whatever steps can be taken, should be taken, with the thought firmly in mind that these are people we're talking about...not statistics.
Bring the Female-Friendly Skies to Frontier
Frontier likes to bill itself as Denver's "hometown airline." But it seems to have recently been doing a spectacularly shitty job accommodating the approximately half of the public that aren't dudes. Just weeks after pregnant and breastfeeding Frontier employees filed suit against the airline for alleged mistreatment, a class-action suit was filed by two women who say they were sexually assaulted on Frontier flights out of Denver, and that those attacks went substantially unaddressed. Frontier has had its share of missteps in the past, from disgruntled employees going on strike to terrible customer rankings to that time when its director of communications went nuts and accused 9News' Kyle Clark of being short. Now this. (And we haven't even mentioned the company's draconian and misleading "a la carte pricing" revenue model.) Frontier, it's your job to take care of your employees and customers. And just in case it needs to be said: That includes everyone.
We talked about those too-yummy national restaurant chains we wanted to see here in Denver about a year ago, and In-N-Out Burger wasn't even on it...because there was reportedly already one opening down in Colorado Springs. Now there's confirmation of one opening in Aurora...but that's still too far for most of the metro area to get that burger animal-style. And it's not just In-N-Out: There's too much convenient deliciousness that remains content to hang out in the ’burbs. Yes, we know, franchise spots in the city can be more expensive, but c'mon. City dwellers need to hit the drive-thrus once in a while, too.
Keep the Central-70 Project on Track
This is the year that the immense construction project shifts into a whole new gear — and it’s the time for the city, and construction company Kiewit, to stay on time and on budget...or at least to stop bullshitting about it already. Because despite Central 70 project director Keith Stefanik claiming that the nine-month projected completion delay announced in November 2019 isn't really a nine-month delay ("I call it a delay on paper," Stefanik said, which is encouraging if you don't think about it too much), being behind schedule is still being behind schedule. And the project is getting more serious in the coming year: 2020 is proposed to include the demolition of the viaduct (the last of the thirty worst bridges in Colorado to be addressed, on the bright side) and the sinking of the roadway approximately thirty feet below ground. Aside from the “vibrant and active four-acre park” that's been promised, Central 70 is interrupting the ways of life for a lot of residents of Globeville, Elyria and Swansea, and changing the face of their neighborhoods forever. Kiewit and CDOT need to stay honest and make it all worth it in the end, for the sake of the neighborhoods, the people who call them home, and for the city at large.
If you’re like many Americans after the holidays, you’re still digging out from under the plethora of Amazon.com boxes. (Amazon isn’t the only one making bank on its success: Somewhere there’s a box manufacturer with a small shrine to Jeff Bezos in its office.) Or maybe you were wiser than most and did your shopping at local stores, to support your local economy and your local shopkeepers both. If so, good for you; keep it up. For the rest of us? We should be more like those local shoppers, y’all. Need a reminder as to where you can buy great stuff without bowing to the Internet or chain stores? Here it is, nerd-style.
Be Open-Minded…and Open-Hearted
When Chuck Rozanski/Bettie Pages of Mile High Comics started his All-Ages Drag Show in 2019, he did it out of a sense of community, support for LGBTQ+ youth, and out of love. Some protesters have taken that as an offense to their limited sense of right and wrong — perhaps a symptom of a larger social challenge facing our country in these times of Trump — but Bettie Pages herself probably said it best: "We want to create a place for kids and families to come and show them that there's support here, here in Denver, here at Mile High Comics, that there's a place for them. That's so important." Yes it is, Bettie. Here’s hoping more people see that in the coming year.
Have any resolutions for Denver in 2020? Let us know in a comment or at [email protected]