On Monday June 28th Denver City Council will be voting on the renewal of the contract with the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District.
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) take public funds and public space and privatize it. BIDs were set up for private businesses to control public space and they continue to do so. This private-public partnership gives the BID the ability to use city money for their private priorities, use private security to police public space, and use public money to lobby for policies they choose.
The Downtown Denver BID, specifically, is the most powerful and most harmful BID in Denver. The Downtown Denver BID consists of 420 property owners and 877 properties that span across its 120-block district, which includes the 16th Street Mall, the Colorado Convention Center, and Performing Arts Complex. The leadership of the board consists of mayoral appointees who are owners of commercial property within the Downtown Denver BID boundary. (As you may imagine, almost all white men.)
The Downtown BID spends the largest chunk of their budget on security to police homeless or ‘unwanted’ people out of the area. For example, over a five-month period in 2019, the Downtown Denver BID security program reported responding to the following types of incidents: 2,130 sit and lie, 1,847 trespass, 721 unauthorized camping, and 2,285 “welfare” checks. (‘Welfare check’ usually means they don’t really have a law to use against the person, but they need some excuse to stop and harass them). All of these 6,983 security contacts in 5 months were regarding people existing in public.
The Downtown BID also spends a large chunk of their budget on policy advocacy (though sometimes cloaked under Downtown Partnership which they are contracted together with). In total, the Partnership has donated $254,900 in municipal elections and $161,00 in statewide elections. The Partnership contributed $200,000 to the Together Denver campaign, a committee
registered in opposition of the Right to Survive. The Downtown Denver Partnership boasts publicly of their successful advocacy for the Breathe Easy Ordinance, Urban Camping Ban, Sit/Lie Ban, and various ballot initiatives including opposition to the Right to Rest initiative. It was the Downtown BID that approached Councilman Brooks in 2011 about proposing the Urban Camping Ban.
We can not keep handing over public space to private entities – especially not private entities with no democratic processes, no accountability, no interest in protecting racial equity, and absolutely no interest in seeing homeless people.
Tell City Council to vote no on this contract renewal and to read more about BIDs on the WRAP website.
Short Info on BIDs
Sign Up to Speak! Friday starts at noon… See details below…
What: General Public Comment
When: Meets Mondays at 5-5:30pm
Where: Virtually at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3GN7Zv99SluXrlm4UC8NLQ
To call in to listen: 720-928-9299 enter 960 0657 7923 for the webinar ID.
How: Starting at 12 p.m. on the Friday before the next scheduled general public comment session, sign up
- Online by clicking the button at the top of the page https://www.denvergov.org/Government/Departments/Denver-City-Council/Public-Input/General-Public-Comment
- By calling 720-337-2000
Topics are required, so include them in all emails and voicemails, or your submission will be considered void.
Sign-up closes at 4 p.m. the day of the general public comment session.
Denver Homeless Out Loud