Word of Mouth

After grilling by Boycott the Palm, the steakhouse reverses its position on camping ban

The Palm has announced that it no longer supports the anti-camping ordinance passed by Denver City Council on May 14, 2012. That announcement follows a months-long boycott by Occupy Denver, which turned its attention on the Palm after Snooze, the subject of the initial boycott efforts, rescinded its support of the urban-camping ban in April, after an almost year-long boycott. See also: Snooze no longer supports city's urban camping ban

Beginning in May, Boycott the Palm targeted the steakhouse in earnest, with protests most Fridays outside the restaurant just off the 16th Street Mall. And a bigger action was planned for October 19, the date of the International Boycott the Palm protest.

But as we reported this morning on the Latest Word, on October 18, the Palm posted this announcement on its Facebook page.

Since opening in 1996, The Denver Palm has supported the city's homeless community. Currently, The Denver Palm teams up with WeDon'tWaste.org to distribute nutritious food to vulnerable populations, donating our restaurant grade leftovers every Friday morning. We believe it is important to help lift up our homeless neighbors.

In 2012, when the Urban Camping Ban ("the Ban") proposal was presented, we believed it would provide more support in the form of shelters, mental health services, and general assistance for Denver's growing homeless population. There are far too many homeless people in metro Denver, and many of them have no option but to sleep outside on the streets. Since the Ban became law in May 2012, service providers have failed to meet the overwhelming need for safe places to sleep. The stated goals of the Ban included improving the business climate and appearance of central downtown areas; police being able to offer service alternatives that help connect homeless people to healthy alternatives to the street; and improving the quality of life as they move off the streets, into shelters, and access needed services. However, a recent survey of over 512 homeless individuals reported that the Ban, while achieving an improved appearance of central downtown, has done so at the expense of the well-being of Denver's homeless population. It says that rather than accessing more services, it's been shown they have moved to less safe locations and become harder for those offering services to find. "The inability to wrap oneself in a blanket when exposed to the difficulties of winter seems unjust."

We believe the Ban should be amended or repealed to more effectively meet the needs of our homeless community.

We urge immediate action to help the homeless community of Denver, for example, dialogue between city officials and the homeless commissions, advocacy groups and homeless people themselves.

First Snooze, now the Palm. Who's next? According to the a href="https://www.facebook.com/BoycottThePalm"> Boycott the Palm Facebook page, the group is now taking nominations for the next business to boycott. In the meantime, the Palm is off the hook, per this note from the boycott group:
The Palm Restaurant, who we truly believe cares for the plight of the homeless, announced they no longer support the 'Urban Camping' Ban Ordinance. We thank The Palm Restaurant for standing with the homeless and calling for the repeal of the 'Urban Camping' Ban in Denver.

Once again, we urge all businesses and organizations in Denver to review the Denver Homeless Out Loud Report on the implementation and impacts the Ban has had and call for its repeal.

We have calls into The Palm's national office, which authored the statement, as well as the mayor's office, which called for the camping ban.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun