Gentrification, Displacement, and Affordable Housing
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 of becoming an exclusive city for the privileged. I represent the working class that Denver has failed to provide enough affordable housing for. The cost of housing in our city has been allowed to reach a dangerous level. Now, even teachers, firefighters, and millennials and seniors alike 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.
I will fight to:
- Build more affordable housing by revisiting the linkage fee.
- Ensure all new developments over a certain number of units include affordable housing.
- Help seniors stay in their homes by expanding homestead exemptions and making those transferable if seniors choose to downsize.
- Increase down payment assistance programs to 10% from 4%, so that the working class can compete with wealthy bidders.
This is the type of vision we need in Denver’s historic Black and Brown communities.
According to Steve Almazan, a Boyle Heights special education teacher, “Gentefication occurs when upwardly mobile, college-educated Latinos return to their old neighborhood and invest their time, money, and interests in [that neighborhood],”
The city should be investing heavily in keeping Denver’s diversity and helping us flourish. I envision a space, like the Stanley Marketplace, made up of micro and small businesses that are owned by people in the community. Along with incubators and other resources that will create real opportunities for upward mobility for members of disenfranchised communities in our district, including differently abled people.
I am in favor of putting everything on the table in order to help make Denver affordable. That is why I am in favor of rent controls and will work to enact the best version of these for Denver when I am a council member. The community input will guide what these policies entail.
We need to work to prevent any Fracking in Denver County. I think that starting with passing a resolution banning fracking in Denver would be a bold first step. Then we would have a one-year moratorium, as said by the courts.
I will also work with the community to create Denver’s Green New Deal.
This will create jobs first by investing in the green infrastructure of Denver. We need to have houses pre-rigged for solar energy, something that would not dramatically increase the cost of a new home, but would empower residents to add solar panels to their roofs.
I-70 Central Project/Ditch
I have had serious concerns with the I-70 Central Project, especially how CDOT, the State, and our local leaders have pushed this project on us. It has displaced residents of Globeville, Elyria, & Swansea. This will perpetuate the gentrification of those communities.
I favor I-70 to be re-routed through the I-270 corridor, which was the original route for the highway when it was first being drafted years ago. This will allow the union contractors to still have employment for many years while correcting many of the environmentalist’s concerns.
I am glad that the new governor-elect has promised to revisit the project, and look forward to residents reminding him of his campaign pledge. I am ready to advocate for the needs of my communities throughout this mess.
Education might not be directly in the purview of council members, but it is undeniable that Far Northeast Denver needs a community school where higher education courses and trade courses are available. We must work to bring this to the community. I favor strong Teachers Unions and demand that DPS negotiate a fair contract that favors teachers. I favor a moratorium on opening more charter schools in Northeast Denver until we get a Community School anchored by a traditional high school in Far Northeast Denver.
I have been a leader in the community with regards to social justice movements. Wheater it is helping form the new use of force policy for Denver Police, marching with students in protest to the rescindment of DACA, or being a leading voice against Denver hosting the Olympics because it would have ushered in the displacement of Latino communities.
I will continue the work of making Denver a city that changes structures, institutions, and policies that have exacerbated inequity.
We need serious criminal justice reform in our city that included ending cash bail for small offenses.
Protection of Immigrants
I am an immigrant. Under this president, we must step up our protection of Denver’s immigrant community. What the federal government is doing to our communities right now is heartless. The City of Denver should be leading in protecting all of our residents.
This begins with reforming the current system of criminalization, to keep our immigrant residents from having to show up in courthouses where ICE is actively detaining people.
We must overturn the camping ban and adopt housing-first policies like those adopted in Salt Lake City. It has been proven that getting people in housing first makes stabilization a reality.
Absolutely not! We should not be hosting a worldwide party for two weeks that does nothing to solve the systemic issues of inequity that we have in our city. Instead, the Olympics wastes money and resources that could actually build affordable housing and adequately fund education, which we so desperately need.
Workers cannot afford to live in Denver. It is a matter of fairness and humanity. We must have a $15 minimum wage in Denver that is tied to the rate of inflation. Of course, the state legislature must act first to make this a reality. I will be the council person to push for this on day one.
Labor Unions, collective bargaining, protecting and expanding worker rights, and making sure that we have a living wage in Denver are all of vital importance to me. These will ensure the working class of our city is not forced to move out of Denver. I was an airplane fueler at Denver International Airport for a few years and then worked in the West Texas Oilfields. In both cases, I suffered from many abuses by my employer. That is why I know firsthand the importance of supporting labor at every level as your candidate and future City Council Member.
I am asking for the current proposal by the Mayor of increasing the minimum wage for city workers and contractors to $15 an hour should be tied to the rate of inflation. Furthermore, how has the mayor come up with this figure? I believe that we need to increase that substantially to a living wage.
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.
Why is this?
- 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.
- Denver Health’s Montbello Clinic is over capacity and it takes weeks to get appointments.
- The furthest parts of District 8 from Denver Health do not have an urgent care or walk-in facility.
- As transportation problems continue to mount, and the I-70 Central Project construction takes off, problems accessing healthcare facilities will increase.
Women and LGBTQ+ Health
- Women and LGBTQ+ communities are impacted the most by challenges of access to healthcare. Many health care services through Denver Health are only available at their campus downtown including: women’s health, pediatrics, STD clinic, and Center for Positive Health.
- 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 women’s health care facility for Montbello.
- Help bring an Urgent Care facility to Far Northeast Denver.
Expanding the Electorate
Low voter turnouts do not help our city. I want to change the off-year municipal election in May, to November. This would require a charter change that I would be behind.
Please contact me and lets set up a meeting to discuss issues important to you!
When I say that I grew up in North East Denver, that is exactly what I mean! My family moved to Montbello when I was four years old. I attended Barney Ford Elementary, Dr. Martin Luther King Middle School, Montbello High School, and graduated from Emily Griffith High School. I love my community and will NEVER be the council member that votes against my community. Instead, I will co-govern with the community!
Community must be at the table where the direction of our city is decided. Lets reclaim our political power from the consultants and big-money special interests! – Miguel