Mayor Mike Johnston Says His Homelessness Plan Is Too Ambitious
During his campaign for Denver Mayor, Mike Johnston set out to house 1,000 people by the end of 2023. Now, he’s admitting this might be too ambitious of a number. In an interview with Axios Denver, Johnston said he made a mistake in the way he’s measuring his homelessness strategy and that he may not be able to house the 1,000 people he promised.
In order to meet his goal, Johnston must house about 800 people in the last month and a half left in the year.
The mayor has placed camping bans on areas where people have been rehoused and plans to build micro communities around the city. Both strategies have received backlash from some Coloradans and legislators.
He says regardless of the outcome, the city will continue prioritizing the homelessness crisis into 2024. He set another goal of housing 1,000 people next year.
Hackers Demand Money From JeffCo Schools
A hacking group threatened to expose JeffCo Public Schools’ sensitive employee and student information, according to a new report from the Denver Gazette. On Oct. 31, the hacking group, SingularityMD, sent an email to parents and staff, demanding JeffCo to pay a ransom of $15,000 by Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. The school district hasn’t disclosed whether the ransom was paid.
SingularityMD received addresses, phone numbers, medical records. They may have also received the staff’s bank account information.
A JeffCo spokesperson says law enforcement and the district’s IT department are investigating the cyber attack.
Threat of Oil Transportation Along Colorado River
Environmental activists are protesting an expansion of an oil rail transport facility that runs by the Colorado River.
Legislators proposed an expansion that would increase the amount of gallons transported along the rail from 1.3 million gallons of oil per day to 4.2 million gallons per day.
Environmental activists argue that the expansion could have catastrophic effects in the case of a derailment. According to The Denver Post, the Colorado River provides water for 5 million people in multiple states and irrigates 5.5 million acres of land. It also acts as a suitable habitat for wildlife.
The Bureau of Land Management , or BLM, told The Denver Post they will consider conducting an investigation into the environmental impacts of the oil facility before they approve an expansion.
BLM expects to make a decision in August of 2024.
Colorado State Capitol Builds Posts To Protect Protesters
A construction project is underway at the Colorado State Capitol. Legislators and the state patrol have approved the building of concrete encased metal posts around the Capitol. They block vehicles from entering areas where protests occur.
Rallies have been frequent since the Israel-Palestine conflict in Gaza, and protestor safety is a priority, according to a Colorado State Trooper. They say the poles will ensure the safety of protestors as they exercise their first amendment right.
According to Westword, cars caused serious injuries after ramming crowds of Black Lives Matter protestors six times in 2020.
The project is expected to be complete in January of 2024.
Population Growth in Colorado Slows
Colorado’s population growth is slowing down more than ever before. The Denver Post reports that the state’s population growth after the pandemic is the slowest on record.
The state had about 27,000 new residents between July of 2021 and July of 2022. In previous years, the average number of new residents was 70,000. According to The Denver Post, migration needs to increase greatly to get the state’s population to its regular numbers, because in-state births are overshadowed by the deaths.
Instead of migration, however, Colorado is seeing high levels of outmigration, with about 9,000 people leaving the state last year. Among the reasons for outmigration are high housing costs and a lack of jobs.