Afternoon Headlines July 20, 2017

Denver City Council Members discussed a proposed $937 million bond program this week.
Many of them agreed that it was still not enough money to do everything the city wants.

Though the bond is the largest ever presented to Denver voters, over half of the money will go towards maintenance. That doesn’t leave enough to complete all the projects listed as part of the bond. Some city council members are advocating for new, permanent revenue sources that could support improvements in parks and rec and transportation in the future.

The proposal includes funding to improve the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods in North Denver and a Westwood Recreation Center after residents strongly pushed for one. Cultural institutions such as the Denver Art Museum, Denver Zoo, and the Botanic Gardens are likely to receive funding as well. Money to build homeless shelters or affordable housing was not included in the bond.

Discussions about a source of continuous revenue to fund further projects is expected to continue into 2018.

Denver City Council meets at 2:30 p.m. Monday, July 24, to continue their discussion of the bond package. They will hold a first reading and public hearing on the bond package on August 7 at 5:30 p.m. This meeting is the last chance for members of the public to voice their opinions on the proposal.

Denver City Council holds a second reading on the bond package Aug. 14. This vote will determine the package that goes to voters in November.

Federal Department of Justice and drug policy officials have been meeting privately with Colorado officials over the past week regarding Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

On Wednesday, they met with Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. He told the Gazette the purpose of the meetings was to find out how law enforcement officials and other regulatory agencies viewed marijuana regulation in the state.

Suthers said the meeting focused on his concern with the cannabis black market in Colorado, which he referred to as huge. He said the federal officials were interested in the extent and nature of black market activity in Colorado. Everyone the officials spoke to in Colorado Springs is known to be opposed to or concerned about legal cannabis.

On Monday, federal officials also met with Governor John Hickenlooper’s staff, state marijuana regulators, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The meetings come at a time when attitudes about cannabis are shifting among members of the Colorado Springs City Council. Some have expressed support for allowing residents to vote on whether recreational marijuana should be legalized in the city, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to crack down on marijuana use in states that have legalized it.

Colorado Springs is considering an urban hunting program that would reduce the deer population around the city.

Over the past year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have met with concerned residents and law enforcement officers about the potential urban hunters could have in reducing car crashes and improving public safety. A similar program put in place at the Air Force Academy in 1988 has been successful in reducing car collisions with deer from 200 per year to between 20 and 30.

The Colorado Department of Transportation reported 7,706 deer-related car accidents around the state in 2016, but says that only half of crashes involving deer are reported. Several rural communities in Colorado have created deer hunting programs, but permitting urban hunters in a city the size of Colorado Springs is unprecedented.

If authorized, the initiative would be a stark contrast to other efforts around Colorado to boost deer populations. The statewide population of mule deer is 110,000 short of the 560,000 target that wildlife managers set. In January, wildlife managers employed an emergency plan to bait deer away from traffic on U.S. 50 near Gunnison with food. In December of last year, a controversial $4.5 million predator control experiment was authorized. It permits the euthanization of bears and mountain lions in an attempt to bolster deer populations.

The Colorado Springs hunting program has received backlash from groups such as the Sierra Club and Wildearth Guardians. They are accusing the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department of favoring deer hunters over the animals, as 90% of the CPW’s funding comes from hunting and fishing license revenues.




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