View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Mayor Hickenlooper Disappoints 

I've kind of liked Mayor Hickenlooper up until now. A fiscal conservative, he was elected to help solve a budget crisis, and to bring business common sense to city government. He's always been a little bit weird, but was also seen as a solid citizen. Now, twice in one week, he's managed to disappoint even those of us who knew he was a social liberal.

First, he failed even to show his face at a police demonstration over the sentencing of a cop for shooting a mentally retarded black teenager. The specifics of the case aren't important, except that the policeman was just following his training when the kd approached him with a knife. Even if the suspension was the correct punishment, the Mayor should have had enough class to meet with the officers who showed up to protest. Instead, he hid. Shame on you, Mr. Mayor.

Then, in today's Denver News (not online), I see that the mayor has a goal of, although not a plan for, eliminating homelessness in 10 years. This, as the homeless who are already here, even those sent from Minnesota, are agitating for a seasonal "tent city," to get them off the streets and in front of our faces. The fact that many of the homeless are quite literally beyond the legal reach of those who would help them makes this an absurd goal to pursue. When cities are able to forcibly take the drug addicts and mentally ill off the street, then maybe we have a fighting chance. But I'm afraid we're looking at some combination of public housing and shortage-creating rent control as the time-tested-and-failed answer to this problem.

UPDATE: It looks like the plan is actually to build more low-cost housing, thus solving the problem that doesn't exist, and subsidizing one that does.

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