Denver voters trounce initiative to allow homeless to live in public places
Denver residents resoundingly defeated a measure Tuesday that would have permitted homeless people to camp out in city parks, along sidewalks, and in other public places.
Initiative 300, which would have overturned the city’s camping ban and allowed people to sleep, eat and otherwise live on publicly owned property, as long as they did so in a “non-obstructive” manner.
The initiative was opposed by Together Denver, a coalition of business, conservation and neighborhood groups, which outspent the pro-300 Right to Survive campaign by more than 10 to 1.
Despite the lopsided election results, there was no gloating by Together Denver, which issued a statement saying that the campaign showed “Denver is a compassionate community that cares deeply about both its people and its public places.”
“While most voters agreed that Initiative 300 was not the right path forward for Denver, this is not the end of the discussion,” said Together Denver. “There is more we can and should be doing, as a community, to ensure Denver is a safe, welcoming and supportive place for everyone.”
This campaign has reminded us that Denver is a compassionate community that cares deeply about both its people and its public places. While most voters agreed that Initiative 300 was not the right path forward for Denver, this is not the end of the discussion. pic.twitter.com/ww5dqimtW5 Vote NO on 300 (@TogetherDenver) May 8, 2019
The initiative, which was backed by the Denver Democratic Party, ACLU of Colorado, Denver Homeless Out Loud, and Occupy Denver, was aimed at giving homeless people the “right to rest,” instead of having authorities clear their makeshift camps and tent cities.
Foes argued that the measure would have had dire consequences for public health, safety and the environment, citing problems associated with the sprawling homeless encampments in places like Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle.
Denver voters also nixed by a far closer margin Initiative 301, the “magic mushrooms” proposal, which would have allowed the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms to treat medical conditions. The vote was 51.6 to 48.3 as of Wednesday morning, according to the Denver elections board website.