Ask The Denver Mayor
Editor’s note: This month we began a new column called Ask The Mayor! The public is invited to submit questions and concerns about what is going on in the City and County of Denver. If you have a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org to have your question reviewed and answered by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.
DUS: How will the recent statements by Attorney General Jeff Sessions affect the Denver community and consumers regarding recreational and medical dispensaries and consumers?
Mayor: As of now, we do not expect changes for the industry here in Colorado.
In 2012, Denver andColorado residents voted overwhelmingly to legalize recreational marijuana. Since that time, our city and state have worked diligently to implement policies that work, making us a leader for other states to follow.
This is a billion-dollar industry in Denver. There are thousands of jobs, and all that Sessions’ actions have done is create uncertainty for an industry that is working to establish stability.
I have urged our congressional representatives to take immediate action to protect our voters and employees from this disastrous decision.
DUS: What are your future plans for improving the roads around the city?
Mayor: The city’s mobility plan is focused on moving more people, more efficiently and more safely by empowering them to make the choices they want to make. This will require a number of steps to improve our roads including making them safer. I want to make the streets safe for everyone, no matter where they live, no matter their means, and no matter their mode to walk, bike, drive or take transit.
As Denver continues to grow, we must find ways to make sure that the infrastructure does too. That is why last October my office put forth our Vision Zero Action Plan. This is a five-year plan to set us on track to improvestreet design, safe speeds, and implement data and transparency that will save lives.
Specifically, the vision zero initiative lays out 70 actions to improve our roads including increased time for crossing the street, timed lights, updated medians, and more options for different modes of transportation.
We’ve already started improvements on busy corridors such as Federal Blvd. For more information about our Mobility Action Plan, go to www.denvergov.org/mayor.
DUS: Do you have any concerns about the recent tax bill passed by the Republicans and/or how it will affect the citizens of Denver?
Mayor: There are a lot of considerations when it comes to understanding the new tax bill, but ultimately, any bill that puts the U.S. $1.5 trillion in the hole isn’t responsible. At the local level, we’ll ensure that we continue to provide government services to our fullest capability. This bill, which specifically caps state and local tax deductions, makes that harder. It takes away vital tools in the toolbox for localities to fund critical needs like infrastructure, education, housing and more.
DUS: What is the process for requesting a stop light at an intersection?
Mayor: The City and County of Denverhas developed guidelines for the installation of stop signs. Before a sign can be installed, we have members of our public works department examine the location, looking at pedestrian volume, automobile traffic, and the frequency of accidents. These individuals are engineers and manage these requests. We’re also in the process of figuring out better ways to bring community traffic and transportation options to Denver residents, looking at how we can be more accessible and responsive to the community’s request and make requests like this more accessible. For more information, please call 3-1-1.
DUS: I am from Africa, a mother of three children and have a family owned restaurant. I have been in Denver since 2003, never committed a crime and regarded as an upstanding businesswoman. I am undocumented for several reasons. How can you help or your office assist me with getting my status changed as documented?
Mayor: The authority over immigration matters lies exclusively with the Federal Government. That is why Denver is focused on connecting undocumented individuals who are seeking to change their status directly to immigration attorneys who can analyze their specific circumstances and determine if there is a path to legal status.
Nationally, 14 percent of individuals who were undocumented and applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) found that they qualified for status more permanent than DACA after consulting with an immigration attorney. Only immigration attorneys are allowed to provide legal advice. The local legal community provides free legal clinics staffed by immigration lawyers (at Centro San Juan Diego) that she can visit before deciding if she wants to consult an attorney.
I have also directed the City Attorney’s Office to create a legal defense fund for immigrants facing removal proceedings. That fund will have both public and private dollars that will support the immigration legal services and is expected to launch soon.