(Photo Caption: Miguel takes a selfie outside of the Montbello Clinic before a check up)
As the State further embraces the idea of Universal Healthcare, and we work to make that a reality, I want to highlight a very real barrier to health care services within Denver City Council District 8: accessing healthcare facilities continues to be a challenge to many in North East Denver, especially those that live in Montbello.
- There is no hospital within District 8, which means that many times we must travel outside of our district for our healthcare.
- Most of the people in North East Denver that have Medicaid rely on Denver Health for their healthcare, but it is really far and getting there on public transit is not easy.
- Women and LGBTQ+ community are impacted the most. Many health care services through Denver Health are only available at their campus downtown including woman’s health, pediatrics, STD clinic, and Center for Positive Health.
- Denver Health’s Montbello Clinic is over capacity and it takes weeks to get appointments.
- Montbello, which is the furthest part of District 8 from Denver Health, does not have an urgent care/walk-in facility.
- As transportation problems continue to mount, and the I-70 Central Project (Ditch) construction takes off, problems accessing healthcare facilities will increase.
- The City of Denver must provide free shuttles for people to access healthcare facilities, especially during the many years of the I-70 Central Project.
- Attract/incentivize, with city funds, a woman’s health care facility for Montbello.
- Incentivize, with city funds, an Urgent Care facility to open in Montbello
It is true, the reason that our city has the council that it does is because we have dismal voter participation in our municipal elections. This is how developers and the consultant class have gained so much control over our government in Denver. The decisions being taken do not reflect the concerns of our residents. Instead, it is those consultant firms and developers who seem to dictate the direction of our city. The trajectory of displacement and gentrification is one that takes decades to fulfill, and in Denver, it has become something of an art. The community is left to try and hold on to a few cultural jewels in areas that were once strongholds of Black and Latinx culture.
It is not simply enough to say: register to vote! We must have something to vote for. The vision that I have is one that creates an inclusive city that does not leave its working class with no choice but to leave the communities where they have invested their entire lives. We must revisit the linkage fee, which allows developers to continue paying their way out of building affordable housing units. For all the opportunities that this city has given their businesses, we must require them to build more. Luxury apartments, condos, and townhomes must be accompanied by moderately priced units. We must make a bold move towards building a fair city, and this starts with expanding the electorate.
Ultimately, I believe that we should move our municipal elections to November to increase the low voter participation in our municipal elections. But for this election cycle, we have to realize that putting a council in place that will put the community’s interests first will require much higher voter participation in the May 2019 election. Please talk to your neighbors, family, and fellow activists about the importance that the next municipal elections will have in determining our future as a city. Remind them to register to vote, and that we have something to vote for. I will be the council member that pushes back and moves our city closer to where it needs to be: a city that has and is guided by a social justice conscience!
Thank you for your support,
Dear People of Denver,
This past week, I filed paperwork to run for Denver City Council District 8. I respectfully ask that you consider giving me the chance to earn your vote. I am tired of seeing the displacement of the working class in my city—displacement that has disproportionately hit communities of color the worst. It is a shame that the most vulnerable in our city, those who need the most help, are the ones being shoved out the door. I ask: where are we supposed to go?
Denver is on the path to be an exclusive city for the privileged. I represent the working class that Denver has failed to provide enough affordable housing for. The unaffordability of housing in our city has been allowed to reach a dangerous level. Now even teachers, firefighters, and educated millennials often cannot afford to buy a home in Denver. Doubling the number of affordable housing units built in Denver will be among my top priorities as your city council member.
My family moved to Montbello when I was 4. I attended Montbello High School and later graduated from Emily Griffith. I spent my teenage years working at my family’s business: Casa Del Sol Mexican Restaurant, which was located across the street from today’s boundaries of Denver’s City Council District 8, in the East Colfax neighborhood at the corner of Spruce and E. Colfax. I grew up with a connection to both corners of District 8. I do not want to see the East Colfax corridor become the next target of massive displacement. I believe, that there exists in this area a unique opportunity to come up with a new model of inclusion and equity, one that steers away from the current model of displacement and gentrification that we have seen in other neighborhoods of Denver. I want residents of Park Hill, East Colfax, and Montbello, who have helped make our communities the attractive cultural strongholds that they are today, to be able to remain in our communities.