Federal Heights police under investigation and gas prices are down Alexis Kenyon
Denver City Council Approves Budget And Homeless Emergency Extension
There were two major votes at last night’s Denver City Council meeting: one approving the city’s new budget, and the other extending the mayor’s emergency declaration on homelessness.
Council members unanimously approved Mayor Mike Johnston’s $1.74 billion budget for 2024. It includes hundreds of millions of dollars in spending for homelessness, and a compromise of $29.1 million dollars for the city’s emergency rental assistance program.
The new spending plan also includes $80 million for affordable home rental and home ownership programs, and $8.2 million to recruit 167 new police officers. That would bring the Denver Police Department to its full authorized strength, according to the Denver Post.
At the same time, council voted 10-3 last night to extend the mayor’s emergency declaration on homelessness through December 31st. The order allows the city to put more resources into dealing with Denver’s historic rise in homelessness.
Addressing that crisis was the centerpiece of Mayor Johnston’s successful mayoral campaign earlier this year. The emergency declaration has already been extended several times. A spokesperson for the mayor said this should be the last request for an extension.
Gun Purchase Waiting Period Wins A Round
A federal judge says that Colorado’s new three-day waiting period for gun purchases can stay in effect, as a challenge to that law makes its way through the legal system.
A Loveland based gun rights group had attempted to block the waiting period law, even as that broader legal challenge plays out. But U.S. District Judge John Kane ruled yesterday that the new law does not violate the Second Amendment, nor does it violate Supreme Court rulings that limit gun reform laws.
The new Colorado gun safety law, one of five enacted earlier this year, establishes a minimum three day waiting period between the time someone buys a gun and takes possession of it. Advocates say the waiting period will help prevent suicides. Judge Kane agreed, ruling that saving lives, quote, “outweighs the aggregate harm of minimal expenditures of time and sacrificed business opportunities.”
Gun-related deaths in Colorado reached a forty-year high in 2021.
The gun rights group, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, says it will appeal yesterday’s ruling.
King Soopers Shooting Suspect Hearing
The man accused of murdering ten people in a Boulder King Soopers store more than two and a half years ago, is due in court today.
At the preliminary hearing for Ahmad Alissa, prosecutors must show they have probable cause for the case to move forward. A judge ruled last month that the suspect is competent to stand trial.
He faces ten counts of first-degree murder, forty-seven counts of attempted first degree murder, and numerous other felonies.
Boulder Gas Ban Proposed
City officials in Boulder are weighing a proposal that could ban gas heating in new building construction.
The city is proposing an all-electric mandate in its energy code. According to Boulder Reporting Lab, if it’s approved, it would mean all new residential and commercial construction in Boulder would have to be electric.
There are a few exceptions to the proposal. Hospitals and commercial kitchens could still use gas if necessary. But under the plan, such exceptions would also have to have onsite solar to offset the use of gas.
The proposed gas energy ban in Boulder would be similar to bans in Lafayette and Crested Butte. Next year in Denver, a ban on gas furnaces and water heaters in commercial and multi-family construction will go into effect.
City staff members say their plan would increase construction costs in the short term. But in time, they say savings from improved energy efficiency would more than offset those early costs.
The final draft of the city’s proposal will be presented at a Planning Board meeting on January 2nd. That meeting will be open to the public. Community participation is encouraged.
Federal Heights PD May Be Investigated
The Federal Heights police department is coming under scrutiny over allegations it has failed to investigate serious felony cases over the last four years.
The Denver Post says 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason, after a review of his own, has referred the matter to the state Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.
Mason said Federal Heights police have failed to investigate cases of sexual assault and other violent crimes. and that in some cases, detectives didn’t follow up with victims. He also said, in a report, that the department is “woefully understaffed,” according to the Post. He added that he has serious concerns about community safety in Federal Heights, a suburb north of Denver.
Federal Heights City Manager Jacqueline Halburnt said in a statement yesterday that the city recently hired a consultant to review police department staffing levels. She added that a retired major crimes supervisor from outside of Federal Heights has been hired to review case backlogs, workflow, and caseload.
The State Attorney General’s Office has declined to comment.
CU Theft Suspects
Four Los Angeles-area high school students are suspects in the thefts of belongings of CU football players and staff, during an October 28th game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that none of the four, all of whom are students at Beaumont High School east of Pasadena, are under arrest at this time.
The Denver Post, meanwhile, says that some of the stolen items have been recovered. The investigation is ongoing.
Colorado Gas Prices
Gasoline prices have been steadily declining in Colorado and nationwide over the last few months. The average price-per-gallon for regular gas in Colorado is $3.25, according to the price-tracking app GasBuddy.
That’s below the national average of 3.32 per gallon.
In Denver the average price per gallon has dropped nearly 45 cents in the last month. GasBuddy says the city average is $3.11.
Pricing has become so competitive that some of the gas stations along Arapahoe Road in Greenwood Village have been trying to out-do each other, with the price actually dropping below two dollars a gallon, as of yesterday morning.
A GasBuddy analyst says the price drop has been astounding, but not entirely surprising. Impacts on the petroleum industry from COVID and the Russian-Ukraine war have eased, he said, resulting in a more typical fall.
Prairie Dog Meeting
Boulder County Parks and Open Space is hosting its annual prairie dog management meeting in Longmont next month.
On the agenda is how the department manages prairie dogs on Boulder County open space.
The meeting is open to the public, and is set for December 7th at the Ron Stewart Parks & Open Space Building in Longmont. It runs from 5:30 to 8 o’clock PM, and is in-person only.